When I go on the radio or TV and do my pundit thing, there’s something I say a lot (maybe too much) in many different ways that I can’t seem to keep away from. It all comes back to this premise: things can change fast, and things can get crazy. I know that’s not always true, but it always seems like when you least expect it, bang, something like that happens.
This has been the case during COVID, and certainly was the case during the Trump years. Yet even despite all the crazy things we’ve seen over these past years and all the things that came to past we never had on our bingo cards, the hits keep coming. That’s the only way I can describe with what’s happening with the Greens and their leadership. I’ve had a fair bit to say on this and after the last time I wrote about it, things seemed to finally settle. The party announced that it wasn’t moving to strip leader Annamie Paul of her membership and the moves to remove her as leader were apparently abandoned.
The news didn’t totally add up, mostly because in her press conference after the news, Paul seemed to still be begging the party to re-instate $250,000 in funding for her campaign in Toronto Centre. That felt odd for a party that was supposedly reconciling, yet given how crazy this whole story has been, it was just as possible par for this Green course. Paul wouldn’t tell anyone how this had all been resolved, and the party wasn’t speaking, so it seemed that maybe they had gotten their stuff together. Well this afternoon that façade just came crashing down and again, I’m surprised and stunned at the details:
Well this news answers a hell of a lot of questions all at once, multiple birds killed at once with the weight of a stone made up of legal documents. First the news breaks that the Green Party has taken Ms. Paul to court, through a notification by the party to members (which is quite something). Then more details come out in the court action, pointing out that the party had gone to court “to overturn an arbitrators’ decision that said they could no longer immediately peruse a non-confidence motion against Leader Annamie Paul”. And oh yeah, if this all wasn’t crazy enough, Ms. Paul was quoted in the media just earlier today saying that “It’s certainly great that that has been put behind us for now”, which she followed up with by saying “What we didn’t have, and what we have now, is just more certainty … about my leadership.” In quick retrospect, those are some chef-kiss worthy bad quotes.
There are a few things about these newest revelations that blow my mind. Firstly, all is clearly not well Green-land and there clearly hasn’t been any reconciliation of any sort here. In fact, it looks like things are only getting worse if the party is actually taking their own leader to court to basically have the right to remove her by whatever means necessary. Insane folks, this is totally insane.
Secondly, I can’t help but continue to be struck by how poorly both the party side and Ms. Paul’s side keep managing this crisis. Last week Paul continued to refuse to be transparent with her members and the media, refused to answer the most basic questions and basically left all these clear signs that all was not right sitting out there for anyone to put together. And that’s not the first time this has happened in this whole situation. Remember when Ms. Paul basically tried to tell the media that the party had just dropped their actions against her, which only lead to the party president to come out to the media correcting her and demanding a retraction. Seriously, she did that almost as if she didn’t expect anyone to ever follow up with the other side or that somehow no one would ever rebut her on this.
And that’s exactly what she appears to have done here again. She wasn’t open, transparent and clear with everyone on what happened, when it’s clear that all of these details would have spilled into the open once a court case was initiated. So now not only do we know the whole truth about what happened, it comes from someone other than Ms. Paul. It also forces her members, the media and the public to question what else she isn’t being totally transparent about. If last week she had just said before the media “this issue went before an arbitrator and I cannot comment on the outcome”, that would have sufficed. Sure, it would have opened the questions about the arbitration, but we ended up there anyway, and we would have regardless.
Finally, and maybe most materially for the election that’s soon to come, this brings the Greens no closer to solving this crisis or actually resolving a thing. It’s actually worse, because now the party is spending their scarce resources in court fighting their own leader. Just imagine how much of their fundraised money is going towards legal and court fees just to slug this out even further. This is all plumbing new depths of insanity and just when we think we’ve finally hit bedrock, we find new paydirt to dig through.
There is no way this ends well for the Greens and I’m positive that all the other parties are just watching on with amazed glee as this once rising party tears itself apart at the seems in such a thorough way. We could very well be witnessing the ugly death of the Green Party of Canada. Some may think that I might be exaggerating a bit, when you consider that this appears to be the first time in Canadian political history that a party is taking their own leader to court, in a dispute about their right or ability to remove them, it doesn’t feel like that much of an exaggeration. Just another crazy example of what happens when “Doing Politics Different” goes horribly wrong, to the extreme.