You are here

Election Diary Episode 3: Greens en route to historic fail

John Bell

September 3, 2021

Oh Diary, you knew it was going to be a rocky ride when Green Party leader Annamie Paul showed up at her campaign launch rally with a giant placard/score card showing that the Liberals, NDP, and Greens all had the same platform.

And her latest antic was to endorse the Liberal Party. She said it was a mistake and tried to laugh it off, but Dear Diary, Dr. Freud and I are highly skeptical.  

Suffice to say the Paul’s leadership has been a running battle of skirmishes with the left in her own party that erupted publicly in the spring when her senior advisor, Noah Zatzman attacked 2 of the 3 sitting Green MPs who had dared to state support for Palestinian human rights.

“We will work to defeat you and bring in progressive climate champions who are antifa and pro LGBT and pro indigenous sovereignty and Zionists!!!!!” Zatzman posted on social media.

The resulting inner party firestorm has not been put out. The Party Executive asked Paul to repudiate Zatzman’s statement. She refused. She demanded to be paid the same as Green MPs. They refused. They wanted a leadership review. She manoeuvered to block it. The Party fund launched a lawsuit against her just days before the election was called.

Meanwhile Green MP Jenica Attwin had suffered enough bullshit, and crossed the aisle to join the Liberals. They may not have a coherent environmental policy, but at least she could enjoy some peace and quiet on the back bench.

Paul and Zatzman tried to go back on the offensive, declaring that the party was rife with racism and anti-Semitism. Both are staunch defenders of Israel and equate criticism of that state with “anti-Semitism”. 

In fact the GPC strife is about a growing split between left and right. Until recently the party has been the province of small “c” conservatives who believe that environmental problems are accidental to capitalism and can be cleaned up with market mechanisms and reforms. But more and more young environmental activists, not finding a home in the major parties, sought to make the GPC the vehicle for their “System Change Not Climate Change” politics.

Most of those activists have been weaned on politics of eco-justice and awareness of environmental racism. This is not to deny the existence of anti-semitism or systemic racism in the GPC or any other political party or institution. But we have seen exaggerated charges of anti-Semitism used elsewhere (the British Labour Party) to attack the left.

And that, Dear Diary, is a recipe for the mess the GPC is in.

Deprived of access to GPC funds, Paul has barely stepped out of her own riding of Toronto Centre. As far as I can see, with half the election period over, she has yet to campaign outside Toronto. She can’t afford to travel, and she and her backers are staking everything on her winning her seat in parliament. She will get some support in that boutique riding, but odds of winning are slim to none.

There are 338 federal ridings up for grabs. By my count, from the party’s website, the GPC is fielding 146 candidates. That is a serious drop from 2019. Early polls comparing voting intentions in 2021 versus 2019 showed that most people who voted for a party will stick with that party – except GPC voters. A majority said they are certain to, or strongly considering voting for a different party this time. The GPC got almost 1.2 million votes last time out, especially strong in the Maritimes. That is not likely to repeat.

And as national leader, Paul isn’t helping. In a La Presse interview Paul was unable to name a single Green candidate running in Quebec. They were quick to note that she had not set foot in Quebec, but didn’t mention that was less than unique. 

BTW, the Quebec wing of the Greens is strongly in support of the eco-socialist who came strong second to Paul in the leadership contest, Dimitri Lascaris. During the pre-election scuffle the Quebec Greens withdrew all support for Paul. If she did try to rally in Quebec, I doubt anyone would show up.

And now the kiss of death: David Suzuki refuses to endorse her candidacy.

So how do I feel about all this, Diary?

I can’t pretend I don’t harbor antipathy for the GPC. I don’t see that they occupy any useful position in Turtle Island politics. If they were securely won over by eco-socialists I would still have some issues but I would have to re-evaluate. But Annamie Paul, Elizabeth May and their ilk would rather see the party in smoking ruins than let that happen.

I won’t shed any tears on election night when the 2019 Green wave recedes to a puddle, but I do worry about the fate of so many good activists, young and old, who put their faith in the GPC.

Geo Tags: 

Featured Event


Visit our YouTube Channel for more videos: Our Youtube Channel
Visit our UStream Channel for live videos: Our Ustream Channel