A potential fall election could be disastrous timing for the Green Party as it fights an internal battle involving new leader Annamie Paul.
The 2019 federal election was a major breakthrough for the Green Party of Canada, electing three Members of Parliament: Elizabeth May and Paul Manly on Vancouver Island, and the party’s first MP off the Island, Jenica Atwin of Fredericton.
Less than two years later, Atwin has already left the party, defecting to the Liberals after a disagreement with new leader Annamie Paul over Isreal.
Paul herself is now fighting to stay in the party, last month saying the push to remove her comes from a small group in the party’s governing body.
“Often when people like me are elected or appointed to senior leadership roles the rules of the game seem to change,” Paul said on June 16.
She is now facing a non-confidence motion next week and there are even calls to block funding for her campaign.
“This isn’t just a stumble or a trip this is a major collapse internally for this party,” said University of Victoria political scientist Michael Prince.
With other party leaders already making campaign-style stops, gearing up for a potential fall election, Prince says it’s the worst possible time for the Greens to be facing such serious internal conflict.
“I really just don’t see the opportunity here for Greens to grow, in fact, if anything I think they’re going to shrink, they’re not going to disappear but this will be a very humbling election I think for the Green Party of Canada,” Prince said.
While the Green Party hit its peak in the popular vote in 2008, they did have a strong showing in 2019 and right now with the climate crisis taking centre stage, Prince says this could have been an opportunity to make some gains.
“It won’t be able to be capitalized on by a party that is deeply fractured and demoralized and struggling to find its place at a time when it should actually be hitting the road running,” he said.
Prince says he wouldn’t be surprised to see Vancouver Island incumbents Elizabeth May and Paul Manly make the next election campaign about themselves rather than their party or its leader.
Neither were available for comment.