On Wednesday 21st of July, the Green Party of Canada along with the Green Party of Canada Fund filed an application to the Ontario Superior Court against a deemed excess of power. Following the announcement of a confidence vote on Annamie Paul’s leadership and her membership within the party, Paul exercised an arbitration clause in her employment contract, demanding that the council be stopped from holding a vote of confidence and review of her membership. Her demands were accepted by the arbitrator and the vote was canceled. Although the arbitrator is supposed to be neutral and mutually agreed upon by the party and Paul, the interference in the case has caused turmoil in the party.
Initially, the reason behind canceling the vote of confidence and the party membership evaluation were supposed to stay confidential. However, the release of court documents has brought attention to the Green Party once more since the start of its internal turmoil last May. Internal turmoil has been affecting the Green Party since Paul’s reaction to the Gaza crisis was deemed insufficient at first. This then intensified following the problematic actions of her spokesperson Noah Zatzman’s, public statements vowing to defeat sitting Green Party MPs and replace them with Zionists.
The court case and the arbitrator:
The application in court calls the arbitrator in the case “erred in law”. The arbitrator, who declared the demands of the Green Party disallowed, according to the application has exceeded his power. The application reads that “as an unincorporated association, the party has no legal capacity to enter into a financial employment contract”, “only the Fund may incur expenses and therefore enter into an employment contract”, such as the one propelled by the arbitrator in defence of Paul. In sum, the court application refutes the decision of the arbitrator to call the voting off, because the contract used in the leader’s defence was not with the party and its constituents, but with the fund, and thereby “cannot impose orders on an entity that is unconnected with Paul’s contract” as the application reads.
The arbitrator in Paul’s case is Earl A. Cherniak, a lawyer who has in the past, been the lead Canadian council for right-wing biographer and media director Conrad Black. Cherniak was deemed biased in Paul’s case due to his association with the Jewish National Fund, and his position on the Arab-Israeli conflict which largely contributed in the making of the court case against Paul. Paul has refused to comment on the situation, and has stated that she is determined, for as long as she can and to the extent that she can, to keep her attention focused on climate policy.
A financial crisis in addition:
Adding to the current political and moral concerns the Green Party has raised against Paul, the financial aspect of the Party is also contributing to the current doubts and concerns with their federal leader. During a federal council meeting on the 27th of July, it was revealed that in 2015, the Green party had 3 million at the beginning of the election, and now they have 300 thousand at the time of election call.
Daniel Green, politician and member of the federal Green Party was very concerned in the federal meeting and wondered if the party could be facing bankruptcy. This could entail a voluntary pay cut for the staff, and that if the party does not receive a loan its well-functioning could be threatened. Fundraising was suggested as the only viable option, but Paul stated that she had nothing to say on finances. Paul emphasized that she has no control over the fact that the expenses were not kept up with – she also stated that the current situation was not propice for fundraising.
In support or against Paul? The candidates are divided approaching the elections:
The financial situation of the Green party has only added doubts on the current leadership, cumulating to the current court case. According to the Star, on the twenty-four candidates running for twelve seats on the council, fourteen of them either declined to comment or chose not to respond, and six others have staunchly opposed Paul’s leadership.
Jean-Charles Pelland, a running candidate for Quebec representative on the federal council, has went as far as stating that Paul is a danger for the party’s future: “No, I do not support Annamie Paul. She is killing the party,” said Pelland to the Star. Only one candidate stated her support for Paul: “Absolutely I support Annamie Paul as leader,” said Redmile-Blaevoet to the Star. Blaevoet has added in her comment to the Star that she opposes a confidence vote and would try to postpone actions to depose Paul until after the next federal election. “Let’s please just focus on preparing for what looks like an imminent federal election,”stated Blaevoet to the Star.
To conclude, the court case and the financial concerns stirring in the Green party currently have raised some concerns over the democratic functioning of the federal party. Some have pointed to the support of the far-right for Paul as questionable in terms of the Green party’s core values and ideals. Global Green News will be sure to follow where this leads the Green party as the election season approaches.