Federal Green Leader Annamie Paul called on her party to put its energies into seeking support in a looming federal election after a non-confidence vote and review of her membership were called off.
“Let’s focus our attention on where it needs to be: electing more Greens,” Ms. Paul told a news conference on Monday in the Toronto Centre riding, where she intends to make her third attempt to win the traditionally Liberal seat. “This is an incredibly important time for us to unify.”
The party announced the cancellation of the non-confidence vote and the review on its website without explanation. Party president Liana Canton Cusmano did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment.
One notice said motions of non-confidence in Ms. Paul will not be considered in the current term of the party’s federal council. A non-confidence vote by the council had been set for Tuesday. Had three-quarters of council members voted against Ms. Paul’s leadership, the issue would have been taken up by Green Party members at a vote in August.
A second notice said a review of Ms. Paul’s membership in the Green Party had been suspended.
The Green Party’s internal tensions boiled over in June after Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin defected to the Liberals.
In a recent virtual town hall, Mx. Cusmano told Green Party supporters Ms. Paul failed to meet her obligations as leader, which caused Ms. Atwin’s defection. At the time, Ms. Paul dismissed the move against her as the work of a “rump group” of council members, including the president, whose terms expire soon.
Ms. Paul, who has led the party for nine months, also said on Monday that she could not elaborate on why the vote and the review were dropped. “I can’t reveal all the details,” she said. “I do not leak.”
Asked whether Monday’s outcome was the result of an internal arbitration process, Ms. Paul again said she could not comment. “Anything I could say today I would say today. I cannot answer that particular question,” she said.
Former leadership contender Dimitri Lascaris called the lack of clarity unacceptable.
In an interview, he said the council needs to offer some explanation.
Ms. Paul, who denounced what she called a “one-sided campaign” against her, said she had considered quitting. “I had thought many times over the last number of weeks about packing it in,” she said. “It has been incredibly difficult and taken quite a toll.”
But she said she didn’t want to let down candidates and supporters, especially those who are of diverse backgrounds. “I also didn’t want to let down all of the people – young, old, from different backgrounds, from different unrepresented groups – who had asked me over the course of the past eight to nine months, ‘Is there a place for someone like me in politics?’” she said.
She added that she wasn’t going to be the third woman in a month to give up a political career.
Nunavut NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, and Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould, a former Liberal justice minister, who have announced their exits from elected politics, expressing ambivalence about the political process.
She said she hopes her critics will wait for a more appropriate time to “make a move,” noting an automatic leadership review will be held after the next election.
Ms. Paul said the party has not backed off layoffs affecting her team of staff, or its decision to withhold funds for her Toronto Centre campaign.
The party has nominated 51 candidates.
According to an Angus Reid Institute poll released July 16, the Greens are running in sixth place behind “Other Party/Independent” with three per cent support.
“Voters aren’t warming up to embattled Green Leader Annamie Paul,” the pollsters say in a statement. “... While two-in-five (39 per cent) don’t know enough to form an opinion, slightly more (42 per cent) see her in an unfavourable light.”
Know what is happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary as selected by Globe editors (subscribers only). Sign up today.