Paul tops op­po­nents in Green fundrais­ing

National Post (National Edition) - - CANADA - MIA RABSON

OT­TAWA lead­er­ship hope­ful An­namie Paul has so­lid­i­fied her­self as the front-run­ner to win the party’s vote in Oc­to­ber, open­ing up a wide fundrais­ing gulf be­tween her­self and her near­est op­po­nent.

The 47-year-old Toron­to­nian has been ahead in fundrais­ing in both the fir­stand second-quar­ter re­sults. This week, party data show as of the end of July, Paul’s fundrais­ing haul was al­most $121,000, more than a third of the money raised by all nine can­di­dates in the race.

On­tario lawyer Dim­itri Las­caris is a dis­tant second, with $52,610. He eclipsed Bri­tish Columbia lawyer David Merner, who had been in second at the end of June, but fell to third at the end of July, hav­ing raised a to­tal of $46,718. For­mer On­tario Lib­eral cab­i­net min­is­ter Glen Mur­ray and B.C. as­tro­physi­cist Amita Kut­tner round out the top five.

Paul, 47, ac­knowl­edges that her be­ing a Black woman run­ning at a time when race re­la­tions are top of mind is shap­ing part of the con­test.

“There is no doubt that there are some peo­ple who of elect­ing a woman of colour, that’s never been done be­fore, or a Black per­son, that’s never been done be­fore, or a Jewish woman, that’s also never been done be­fore,” said Paul. “So there’s a lot of firsts.”

The last time a Black woman ran for a fed­eral party lead­er­ship in Canada was in 1975. Now Paul and Les­lyn Lewis, who is run­ning for the Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship, are each try­ing to become the first to win one.

Both were tar­geted re­cently with hate­ful mes­sages dur­ing virtual de­bates, events the RCMP are in­ves­ti­gat­ing. Paul is hop­ing that peo­ple see her cam­paign for more than that, and ex­pressed frus­tra­tion that the Green cam­paign is only seem­ing to get much attention when racism rears up.

Paul’s cam­paign themes are di­ver­sity, dar­ing and democ­racy, and she is proud about the ef­forts in her cam­paign to bring more di­ver­sity into the Green party. But she said di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion have to go far beyond just seeing women of colour on the bal­lot.

“It can’t sim­ply be pho­tos of us cel­e­brat­ing Carnival and pho­tos of us in hand­cuffs,” she said, adding that there hasn’t been much media in­ter­est in the race so far.

Paul’s plat­form in­cludes poli­cies to prop­erly doc­u­ment ex­ces­sive po­lice use of force, im­ple­ment a na­tional guar­an­teed basic in­come and make all post-sec­ondary schools tu­ition-free.

The Greens of­fi­cially de­cided July 26 to make their Oc­to­ber con­ven­tion a virtual one, with COVID-19 mak­ing an in-per­son event im­prac­ti­cal. The vote was al­ready to take place online or through mail-in bal­lots, so the change mostly means switch­ing to a virtual an­nounce­ment of the win­ner.

COLE BURSTON / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS FILES

Green Party of Canada leader El­iz­a­beth May, left, speaks with An­namie Paul last September. Paul is so­lid­i­fy­ing her spot as a front-run­ner in the race to suc­ceed May at the party’s helm, rais­ing al­most $121,000 so far.

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