Green Party leader Annamie Paul announced today that she will be stepping down as her party’s leader after his disastrous appearance in the recent federal election, prompting the search for a new leader less than a year after the last election ended.
Ball said she is now stepping down because she cannot afford to undergo a forked leadership review, a process formally launched on Saturday by members eager to replace her after the party’s poor performance in the 44th general election.
“I just asked myself if this was something I wanted to continue with, if I was willing to take on the attacks that I knew were coming, and whether I would continue to fight and struggle just to fulfill my democratically elected role as leader of this party,” Paul told reporters at a news conference at Toronto “I just don’t have the heart for that.”
Paul, a former bilingual diplomat, was chosen by members to take over the reins of the small party last October, becoming the first permanent black leader of a major federal political party.
She pushed to make the party more diverse and reflective of contemporary Canada, but her time at the top will be remembered most by the internal discord that hampered her leadership and the party’s electoral fortunes.
After announcing his best-ever result in the 2019 election, the resignation of former party leader Elizabeth May prompted a soul-searching among the party’s ranks as an ethnically and ideologically diverse group of candidates lined up to replace her.
Paul, a moderate relativist, narrowly beat an opponent who described himself as a “radical” and an “environmental socialist”. She promised tough action on climate change and policies to tackle systemic discrimination.
Leadership is hampered by infighting, political disagreements
But Paul was hampered by infighting and a dispute over party policy on Israeli and Palestinian issues.
During the Middle East crisis in May, Paul, a Jewish woman, called for a de-escalation and a return to dialogue — a response that some in the party deemed insufficient to criticize Israel, including one of his then-Vice-President, Jenica Atwin. .
Atwin, who eventually joined the Liberals and won re-election under the party banner last week, said Red Bull’s response was “completely inadequate” to ongoing “apartheid”.
Paul Manley, another Green Party MP at the time, said the evacuation of some Palestinian families from East Jerusalem amounted to “ethnic cleansing”.
Partisan opposition prompted one of Paul’s top employees, Noah Zatzman, to accuse politicians, including unspecified Green Party lawmakers, of discrimination and anti-Semitism.
“We will defeat you and bring in the progressive climate champions who are antifa, pro-LGBT, indigenous sovereignty and Zionist!!!!!” He said in a social media post in May.
Paul sided with Zatzman, angering some members who saw the leader’s inaction as a sign that she had endorsed her staffer’s call to replace two of the current Green Party MPs. Zatzman’s position and Paul’s reaction prompted Otwin to smash into the ground, a devastating blow to a party of just three MPs.
Paul then faced several calls for a leadership review, and at one point party executives attempted to revoke her membership — an unusual move just weeks after a widely anticipated election call.
Paul spent nearly all of her last campaign riding the Toronto Center, where she ran for the third time.
Paul justified the limited itinerary by saying that some Green Party candidates did not want it on their election tour. She eventually finished a disappointing fourth in her race to become an MP.
Under Paul’s leadership, the party’s vote has fallen from a high of 1.1 million votes and 6.5 percent of the national vote in 2019 to just under 400,000 votes and 2.3 percent of the vote share in the most recent contest.