Several sources told CBC News that the party’s federal council discussed the overhaul of Annamie Paul’s membership in a meeting on Tuesday evening. The sources said they could not confirm whether a formal review had been initiated because the Toronto Star first reported. It is not clear what the revocation of Paul’s membership would mean for the status of his leadership. According to party rules, the leader must be a member in good standing.
Reacting to the latest news, a prominent Green Party source supporting Paul called the move illegitimate and undemocratic. Paul still faces a vote of no confidence on his leadership later this month.
CBC has contacted the party and Paul herself for comment. Party spokeswoman Rosie Emery did not confirm that an emergency meeting took place last night.
The letter of “cease and desist”
The party code of conduct states that “the executive director will automatically initiate a membership review if a member takes legal action against the Party.”
As first reported by the Montreal Journal, Paul’s lawyer recently sent a cease and desist letter to a member of the party’s federal council. The letter accused a board member of defamation, but no further action was taken. The nature of the alleged comments that prompted the letter is unclear.
Members of the Green Party who undergo a review of their membership have 30 days to prepare their defense and have the right to be heard before the federal council of the party. A simple majority of federal councilors is all that is needed to remove a member, although those who have been expelled go to the party appeals committee.
Tuesday night’s emergency meeting immediately followed a presentation to members that showed the party was burning money and its expenses exceed income.
An end to membership?
There are also questions about whether the party will fund Paul’s election campaign in the riding of Toronto Center. A motion was tabled at a federal council meeting on June 29 to withhold $ 250,000 previously allocated to Paul’s own election campaign.
A prominent Green Party source said some party members who were unhappy with Paul’s leadership were trying to use back door tactics to impeach the party’s elected leader, which the source said was unconstitutional. The source said it also undermines the legitimacy of the upcoming confidence vote, which was supposed to give party members the final say on Paul’s future.
Paul was not invited to attend Tuesday night’s emergency meeting, despite being a member of Federal Council.
Paul is expected to face a vote of no confidence in the Federal Council next Tuesday. The vote was called after Paul did not openly condemn the actions of Noah Zatzman, Paul’s former political adviser. Zatzman called party members online who criticized Paul’s stance on the Middle East.
In May, the member for New Brunswick Jenica Atwin denounced her party’s position on the Middle East conflict on Twitter, calling it a “grossly inadequate statement.” Atwin then wrote: “The forced evictions must stop. I stand with Palestine and condemn the unthinkable airstrikes in Gaza. End apartheid.
Shortly after, the then chief advisor Zatzman took to Facebook to declare that the Greens “will strive to defeat you and bring in progressive climate champions who are anti-afa and pro LGBT and pro indigenous and Zionist sovereignty !!!!! The calls quickly multiplied for the leader Annamie Paul to condemn and dismiss Zatzman.
At the beginning of June, Atwin announced that she would cross the floor to join the liberals, citing differences over the party’s position in the Middle East “certainly played a role”.
Almost a week later, senior party officials held an emergency meeting to discuss Paul’s dismissal. After the long session, CBC learned that Paul survived attempt.
Instead, members of the federal party council chose to issue an ultimatum declaring that it must publicly support its remaining Green MPs and “repudiate” Zatzman. The consequence of non-compliance would be another vote of no confidence on July 20.
Paul has yet to fully comply with the ultimatum publicly.