Annamie Paul formally resigns as Green leader, will end membership in party

·4 min read
Annamie Paul says she is no longer the leader of the Green Party of Canada. (Sam Nar/CBC - image credit)
Annamie Paul says she is no longer the leader of the Green Party of Canada. (Sam Nar/CBC - image credit)

Annamie Paul has given formal notice of her resignation as leader of the Green Party of Canada and says she will also end her membership in the party.

"It was an honour to work for the people of Canada and I look forward to serving in new ways," she said today in a social media post.

Party sources told Radio-Canada and CBC News Paul sent a resignation letter to the Green Party Fund triggering a termination clause under her contract that will take effect in 30 days. If the fund opts to terminate Paul immediately, it will owe her salary for the 30 days, the sources say.

Paul announced on Sept. 27 that she would be stepping down as Green Party leader after a poor showing in the summer federal election.

She ran for a seat in the Liberal stronghold of Toronto Centre, where she finished a distant fourth. Her party won two seats in September.

Paul was facing a leadership review despite announcing she was stepping down as leader.

"I just asked myself whether this is something I wanted to continue, whether I was willing to put up with the attacks I knew would be coming, whether to continue to fight and struggle just to fulfil my democratically elected role as leader of this party," Paul told reporters in Toronto days after the election. "I just don't have the heart for it."

Paul's departure was delayed because her lawyer was negotiating with party lawyers to settle a legal conflict, sources told CBC News last month.

Internal conflict over Israel

Paul was chosen to lead the party last October, making history as the first Jewish woman and Black person elected to lead a major federal party.

At her post-election press conference, she described her time as leader as "the worst period in my life" in many respects.

"What people need to realize is that when I was elected and put in this role, I was breaking a glass ceiling. What I didn't realize at the time was that I was breaking a glass ceiling that was going to fall on my head and leave a lot of shards of glass that I was going to have to crawl over throughout my time as a leader," she said.

Watch: Annamie Paul announces she will step down as Green Party leader

Sources told CBC News last month that Paul and the party were negotiating compensation for legal costs she incurred fighting a bid to remove her as leader last summer.

Some members of the Greens' federal council tried to trigger a leadership review in July after Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin crossed the floor to the Liberals.

Atwin joined the Liberal benches shortly after criticizing Paul's response to violence in the Middle East as "totally inadequate" and going on to accuse Israel of pursuing a policy of apartheid.

Paul had issued a statement in May calling for a de-escalation and return to dialogue.

Paul's then-political adviser, Noah Zatzman, took to Facebook to accuse politicians, including some unspecified Green MPs, of discrimination and antisemitism.

"We will work to defeat you and bring in progressive climate champions who are antifa and pro LGBT and pro indigenous sovereignty and Zionists!!!!!" he said in a May social media post.

Paul did not comply with a demand from the party's federal council that she publicly repudiate Zatzman's remarks.

Paul told reporters after the election that unnamed senior party members "took great pleasure in attacking me" and suggested that was the reason the party performed poorly. She also said the national council held back financial resources she needed.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that when you head into an election without funding for your campaign; when you head into an election without the staff to staff your campaign; when you head into an election without a national campaign manager; when you head into an election being again under the threat of a court process from your party; it's going to be very hard to convince people to vote for your party," Paul said.

Her exit will clear the way for the Green Party to choose an interim leader and plan a new leadership race.

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