The Green Party’s national president is blaming the party leader for the fact that a legal conflict is being kept secret from members.
In a letter on Friday, Liana Canton Cusmano urged Green members to read an application the party has filed in the Superior Court in Toronto in response to an arbitration ruling.
The application is aimed at reversing an order that the party cancel a non-confidence vote against Green Leader Annamie Paul by the council. The notice of application also seeks to resume a review of Ms. Paul’s membership in the Greens that the arbitrator froze that could lead to her suspension from the party.
Ms. Paul has been leader for nine months and has been trying to rally party members to prepare for the expected federal election.
“We have arrived at this point in time because these legal proceedings were initiated in the first place by Annamie Paul, not the [Green Party of Canada]. That must be made clear,” says the newly released letter from Mx. Cusmano, a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail.
Until the application was filed, it was unclear whether any arbitration proceeding had been under way in relation to the motions against Ms. Paul’s leadership.
“These proceedings, as initiated by Ms. Paul, were meant to be conducted in private without the full view of members. Why the secrecy? You can only ask Ms. Paul.”
Mx. Cusmano said that the notice of application is public, but the party is cautious about communicating about it “given the potential application of confidentiality rules.” Mx. Cusmano did not elaborate.
Rosie Emery, a spokesperson for the party, declined comment on Friday on the letter. Mx. Cusmano did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the correspondence.
The president wrote that the party’s “ability to speak openly about this matter has been constrained and remains constrained.”
“Through our actions in Superior Court, we aim to bring an openness to this matter. As a national party, our processes must be conducted in a democratic way in full view of our members and our voting public,” Mx. Cusmano wrote.
In Wednesday’s legal application, the party and the Green Party of Canada Fund say the arbitrator exceeded his authority in requiring party executives to cancel their motions against Ms. Paul.
Lawyers on both sides of the dispute did not respond on Friday to requests for comment.
Ms. Paul has dismissed the legal challenge as the latest move in a “one-sided attack” by a handful of outgoing federal councillors, related to “internal party matters.”
“I’m not going to discuss things that are not supposed to be in the public domain,” she said Thursday at her campaign office ribbon-cutting in downtown Toronto. The Green Party Leader, who has no seat in the House of Commons, is running for a third time in Toronto Centre.
With a report from The Canadian Press
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