1. Annamie Paul Elected as Leader of the Green Party of Canada
October 3, 2020
On October 3rd, Annamie Paul became the first Black Canadian and first Jewish woman to be elected leader of a major political party in Canada. She won the Greens’ 2020 leadership contest with 12,090 votes, defeating runner-up Dimitri Lascaris and 6 other candidates.
Paul possesses extensive professional experience in a diverse range of areas, including global conflict prevention, the International Criminal Court, and Canada’s diplomatic mission to the European Union. She is also the founder and former Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Political Leadership (CCPL) and the co-founder and co-director of the Barcelona International Public Policy Hub (BIPP HUB).
2. The Rise of Eco-Socialism in Canada’s Green Party
August – October 2020
This year’s race for the Green Party of Canada’s leadership was characterized by overwhelming support for eco-socialist candidates and progressive policy, which many argue are the best means to address the climate emergency. Dimitri Lascaris garnered 45% of the vote, losing by a slim margin to Toronto lawyer Annamie Paul. Meryam Haddad, Montreal activist and lawyer who was expelled from the race and later reinstated, along with Dr. Amita Kuttner and Lascaris, argue that Centrism is a defence of the status quo and not nearly enough.
GGN’s Margaret Saville reached out to Dimitri Lascaris following the voting results. In a Q&A, Lascaris raises hope for demystifying socialism and overcoming the hostility of mainstream media to eco-socialism. The environmental lawyer discusses how he will continue bringing forth eco-socialist policies within the Green Party, including plans to form a Green Left Caucus.
See commentary by Justice Greens on the results of the leadership race in Sarah Cui’s interview with representatives of the independent advocacy group for eco-socialism in the Green Party.
3. New Leadership in Western Canadian Green Parties: Sonia Furstineau, Jordan Wilkie and Naomi Hunter Elected as Provincial Leaders
The Green Party congratulates MLA Sonia Furstenau, the newly elected leader of the B.C. Greens
On September 14th, MLA Sonia Furstenau was elected leader of the B.C. Green Party.
The Green Party of Canada further congratulates Sonia Furstenau and the Green caucus on their electoral success. The BC Greens captured 15.3 percent of the vote and ran a phenomenal campaign, garnering an enormous amount of encouragement, support, and endorsements from their local communities and colleagues.
Despite the setbacks of campaigning during the pandemic, as well as the nature of the snap election, Furstenau and the team did a “fantastic job of reaching out to voters, while keeping everyone COVID-safe,” said Annamie Paul.
The re-election of Sonia Furstenau and Adam Olsen, along with the first mainland breakthrough win of Jeremy Valeriote in West Vancouver-Sea-to-Sky has revealed that Green values are B.C. values, and that British Columbians are looking for a real plan for a just and sustainable future.
Jordan Wilkie elected as leader of the Green Party of Alberta
On March 28th, 2020, Jordan Wilkie was elected leader of the Alberta
n Greens and is now inspiring the people of Alberta to stand with the Green Party of Alberta. “This is a movement,” says Wilkie. “The greenwave has begun.”
Holding a degree in Philosophy and a Masters in Disaster Emergency Management, Jordan has collaborated with municipalities to adapt their policy and infrastructure in response to the growing climate crisis. Through his disaster management initiative Flashover, he has spent years hosting workshops and gatherings to make communities safer, more resilient and interconnected on a community level. In 2019, he answered the call to offer his services pro bono to aid in the response to the Amazon Wildfires alongside international organizations and indigenous leaders.
Naomi Hunter elected as leader of the Green Party of Saskatchewan
In March 2020, Regina resident Naomi Hunter was named leader of the Saskatchewan Greens going into the 2020 general election.
Having grown up in Northern Saskatchewan, Hunter maintains that Saskatchewanians place a great deal of importance on their rural roots, particularly when it comes to protecting the environment. A long-time social activist, Hunter’s political involvement included organizing protests, petitions, and even aiding in the establishment of the original Saskatchewan Green Party in the 1980s.
4. New Brunswick Green MLAs Re-Elected
Three Greens were re-elected to New Brunswick’s legislature in the September 14 general election. Greens also gained 15.2% of the popular vote, up from 11.2% in 2018.
David Coon, Green Party Leader since 2012 and the first Green MLA in New Brunswick, was re-elected in his riding of Fredericton South with 54% of the vote. This is Coon’s third time winning the riding.
Alongside Coon are Megan Mitton for the riding of Memramcook, who took 40% of the vote, and Kevin Arseneau for Kent North, who won with 47%.
5. Green Party Supports Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Rail Blockades
Leaders of the Green Party throughout Canada strongly condemn injunction enforcement in Wet’suwet’en territory, and fully supports the rail blockades taking place across the country in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.
On February 6th, the RCMP moved into Wet’suwet’en territory in Northern B.C. to enforce an injunction issued by the B.C. Supreme Court. They arrested Wet’suwet’en clan members and their allies who are blocking work on the Coastal GasLink pipeline project by occupying traditional territory along the Morice West Forest Service road.
Green Party of Quebec leader Alex Tyrrell visited the protest camp at the site of the Kahnawake rail blockade to show his support for the blockade before issuing the following statement
“What is happening on Wet’suwet’en territory is a disgrace to Canada. It’s a blatant and violent continuation of the colonization process. It is an assault on the rights of Indigenous peoples of this land. It is out of step with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is a black eye for Canada on the international stage. It’s a profound injustice and it’s the latest example of racist and extractivist policies which prioritize fossil fuel extraction and economic development over Indigenous rights.”
6. Green Party Leaders Call for Police Accountability
In early June, the Green Party of Canada urged the federal government to open a national inquiry within Canadian law enforcement agencies. Members of the party demanded to know if white supremacists and far-right groups have infiltrated those agencies. During a conference, ex-leader, Elizabeth May said: “Events in the United States have highlighted that police brutality against black people, other racial minorities and even journalists is far too frequent and wholly unacceptable”.
As protests unfolded in support of the Black Lives Matters movement, Green leaders across Canada showed their support. Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Alberta, Evelyn Tanaka, mentioned in a media release how “this is a crucial hour for all of those who care about fairness and social justice. The protests that have been occurring here at home and around the world are showing how deep racism goes and how enough is enough.” Moreover, new party leader Annamie Paul shared different ideas that the federal government can implement in order to help dismantle systemic racism in our criminal justice system.
Alex Tyrrell, leader of the Green Party of Quebec showed his support for the movement. He highlighted how “Black, Indigenous and Arab people are more likely to be arrested by the police and have a more difficult time finding housing and jobs. The QC party proposed many actions. For example they want to “establish a Permanent Council on Combating Racism, composed of racialized people, which will be mandated to conduct field research, advise the government, draft legislation, make information available to the public and participate in the development of policies to combat racism”.
Mike Schreiner, Green Party of Ontario, says: “We too have systems that are steeped in racism and discrimination and built on the false idea of white supremacy”. Furthermore, Sonia Furstenau of the BC Green Party mentioned during the provincial elections how they as elected officials have to, in their roles, work to end systemic racism.
The topic was also brought up in the debate for the next leader of the Green Party of Canada. The final question of the debate pertained to police defunding because of the protests against systemic racism in police forces in Canada, the United States and around the world.
7. New Brunswick Green Leader Fights Glyphosate Application
In late August, Green Party Leader David Coon announced that a Green government would immediately ban the use of the spraying of herbicides, such as glyphosate, on Crown lands and under power lines.
Glyphosate is an herbicide patented by Monsanto and has been controversial in its application in agriculture and forestry, cited by many to be carcinogenic.
“I will stand up for what New Brunswickers want, and with 35,000 signatures on the Stop Spraying petition I presented in the Legislature, it is clear that it is time to ban the use of glyphosate and other herbicides on our forests.”
Coon also committed to ending the practice of indiscriminate clearcutting. “We will replace indiscriminate clearcutting with selective harvesting to encourage the natural regrowth of trees.”
8. Nova Scotia Greens Support Indigenous Fishing Rights
September – October 2020
During the late months of 2020, Canada witnessed a regional dispute between the Sipekne’katik First Nation who are part of the indigenous Mi’kmaq group, and the commercial fishermen in Nova Scotia.
The heated quarrel rose after the indigenous group set up lobster traps in the Bay of Fundy outside the federally regulated season for fishing.
However, the Sipekne’katik groups’ argument is based on the long-history of this exercise that dates back to their ancestors. They view their actions as compliant with what the 1760-1761 Peace and Friendship treaties hold; the right to practice hunting and fishing, and to trade these elements in return for basic necessities of life.
While the Indeginous-set traps are limited and would not risk the disruption of wildlife, non-indigenous fishermen see it as not only hindering the already established federal regulations, but also the wellbeing of fragile lobster during their mating season.
In mid-September, the dispute between the opposite groups prompted illegal criminal actions that first began with intimidation acts and led to commercial fishermen igniting a vehicle that belonged to an indigenous man.
Nova Scotia’s Green Party leader, Dr. Thomas Trappenberg, criticized the unlawful maneuvers that were occurring and expressed concerns regarding the federal government’s response to the damaging acts done by protestors.
In an interview with Global Green News, the N.S Green Party Leader further explained the need for reconciliation and negotiation between the Canadian Federal Government and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) alongside the First Nation group, to come to a nation-wide understanding of the treaty.
9. Greens Call for Universal Basic Income Rather Than Temporary Cover Relief
December 15, 2020
The Green Party was the first to sound the alarm on the CERB repayment demands. Many Canadians who applied for CERB in good faith were shocked to learn that they have to repay the thousands of dollars that kept them from falling through the cracks during the pandemic.
In response, the Greens urged the government to immediately suspend their collection efforts from struggling Canadians who applied in good faith and under the rules that were established. As articulated by Annamie Paul, these people used the money to “put food on the table, provide for their kids, and keep their businesses afloat.”
This is one of the many reasons the Greens are calling for a Guaranteed Livable Income. “We can keep plugging the holes one-by-one or we can adopt a GLI to make sure no one is left behind.”
10. Annamie Paul Expresses Concerns on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Annamie Paul responds to the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in Canada and expresses concerns about its distribution. In a press release, Paul says “As the vaccines roll out, information is going to be the key.”
“In addition, access for Indigenous communities remains a critical question unanswered by this Government given the storage requirements of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.”
In an interview on December 7 with CPAC, Paul also expressed “We certainly have a difficult and painful history in terms of healthcare decisions and how vaccines […] have been distributed in the past.”
“First in line are […] people in long-term care facilities, seniors over the age of 80, people in remote communities, indigenous communities.”
“I would also like to see added to the list, those who live in hyper-concentrated, urban environments, really vertical cities that have seen absolutely staggering rates of infection.”
Citing the Toronto Centre riding Paul ran for in this fall’s by-election, “residents in those communities, who are low-income and racialized, they are infected with COVID, and these are the people doing essential work”.