Green Party Leader Annamie Paul will face a non-confidence vote on July 20.
Liana Canton Cusmano, the interim president of the Green Party of Canada and its federal council, told party members on Wednesday during a virtual town hall that the vote was necessary because we “are concerned about the path the party is headed in, should the status quo prevail.”
iPolitics obtained a copy of the statement that Cusmano read to party members, which explains in detail why the federal council, the party’s governing body, is holding the vote.
The council says Paul “failed to meet her obligations as leader” by not condemning her former senior adviser, Noah Zatzman, who on Facebook said MPs Paul Manly and Jenica Atwin should be defeated in the next election because of their tweets in May about the Israel-Gaza conflict. The council also says Paul failed to support Manly and Atwin in the Zatzman controversy. Atwin left the Greens earlier this month to join the Liberals.
In order to remove Paul as leader, 75 per cent of the 13 members of the federal council members must vote to remove her. The council usually consists of 18 voting members, but there are five vacancies at the moment. If the council does decide to remove her, a general members’ meeting will be held on Aug. 21, where a final decision about her leadership will be made.
Cusmano said if Paul had met the terms of the council motion earlier this month urging her to publicly reconcile with Manly, and to condemn Zatzman’s remarks about Manly and Atwin, a non-confidence vote wouldn’t be necessary.
“The original motion and (Cusmano’s) statement are but further evidence of an organization whose leadership fosters a culture of systemic antisemitism and discrimination,” Zatzman said in a statement. “Annamie was elected by a majority of party members to change this, and I have faith that she will.”
Zatzman has also urged the party to retract the statement Cusmano delivered to party members at Wednesday’s town hall, and has threatened to take legal action.
Cusmano told members during the meeting that the council could appoint an interim leader if Paul loses the non-confidence vote.
A former senior official with the party told iPolitics on Wednesday that the council should not appoint an interim leader. Rather, that position should go to the person who came in second in the leadership race last October, Dimitri Lascaras. Former leader Elizabeth May, rumoured to be a candidate for interim leader, did not run for the leadership last fall.
“The party needs to be cleaned up, and if that means no elected Green party members in the next Parliament, so be it,” the former senior official said after learning of Cusmano’s statement.
iPolitics asked Paul to comment on Cusmano’s statement and the town hall, but her office replied in an email that she had no comment to make at this time.