The Chronicle Herald (Metro)
May supports Green Party, stops short of supporting embattled leader
OTTAWA – Former Green Party leader Elizabeth May broke her silence on the party’s internal turmoil Tuesday, saying she supports the party and its values, without expressing support for Annamie Paul’s leadership.
May has been silent throughout the Green’s recent internal battles as members of the party’s board attempted to have Paul removed as leader, less than a year after she won the party’s leadership race.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, May said she fully supports the party, but said members are the only ones who should weigh in on Paul’s leadership.
“I fully support the Green Party of Canada, our values and our constitution. Our leader is Annamie Paul and only our members have authority to call that into question,” she said. “We need to pull together for what appears to be an imminent election campaign.”
May said she stepped down as leader to spend more time working on issues with other Green MPS. She said she fully accepted Paul’s need to move to centre stage in the party, which is why she has kept a low profile over the last year.
The push against Paul’s leadership ended Monday after members of the party’s board cancelled a proposed non-confidence vote and a membership review. Paul revealed, however, she is still leading the party without any staff and her campaign for the Toronto-centre riding has not been well funded.
While sources have revealed there were tensions in the
party since Paul’s election as leader, the fight in the party emerged into the public eye after Green MP Jenica Atwin crossed the floor in early June to sit with the Liberals.
Before her defection, Atwin denounced a statement from Paul on the Israeli-palestinian conflict as “totally inadequate,” because it called for both sides to de-escalate and reduce violence. Atwin called on Israel to “end apartheid.”
Shortly after Atwin’s tweet, Paul’s then adviser and spokesperson, Noah Zatzman, wrote a post on Facebook calling out anti-semitism among MPS of all parties, including the Greens, and calling for MPS who supported anti-semitism to be defeated. When Atwin joined the Liberals, she revised her earlier remarks about Israel.
Sources have told Postmedia News that the board members who were most determined to see Paul’s ouster were close associates of May, but May said she had no involvement with the recent events.
“I have no role — official or unofficial — in any of the Green Party governing bodies.”