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The Green Party has handed Leader Annamie Paul an ultimatum: repudiate comments from a former staffer accusing MPs of antisemitism or face a confidence vote on her leadership.
The decision from the party’s federal council came late on Tuesday night after a meeting that stretched for nearly four hours. Members debated immediately triggering the complicated process to remove Ms. Paul.
Her election to the helm of the Greens in October was heralded as a historic success that made international headlines; she is the first Black woman and first Jewish woman to lead a major federal party.
The federal councillors voted to give Ms. Paul a brief reprieve, party spokesperson Rosie Emery confirmed on Wednesday. The party has been in turmoil since Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin defected to the Liberals last week. The two remaining MPs blamed Ms. Paul for the floor-crossing, because of how she handled a dispute between her former senior aide Noah Zatzman and Ms. Atwin.
In a five-to-four vote, the council passed a motion to ask Ms. Paul and B.C. MP Paul Manly to organize a joint statement and press conference, where she would repudiate Mr. Zatzman’s attacks and explicitly support the Green Party caucus. Otherwise, council decided a vote of non-confidence in the leader will take place on July 20, 2021.
Ms. Paul has not yet issued a public statement on the vote, nor disclosed how she will respond. Ms. Emery said the party would release a statement later Wednesday.
Reporter’s Comment, Marieke Walsh: “All eyes will now be on how Green Leader Annamie Paul responds to the party’s ultimatum. Ms. Paul’s position remains precarious. With mere months to go before a widely expected fall election call, Greens have undercut their leader and aired their dirty laundry just as the party tries to convince voters that it is a viable alternative for progressive voters. So far the only real winners in this dispute are the NDP and Liberals, who will use the turmoil to say the Greens aren’t ready for prime time.”
OUTBREAK IN KASHECHEWAN - A COVID-19 outbreak has infected 138 children in Kashechewan, a remote First Nation along the James Bay coast, prompting calls for emergency shelters to facilitate isolation in the community, which has long suffered severe housing challenges. Among those who have tested positive are two infants, one seven weeks old and another four months old. About 65 per cent of the community’s active infections are among children under 17.
BLUNT SPEECHES FROM DEPARTING MPS - Canada was excoriated as a racist, hypocritical failure Tuesday as MPs who don’t intend to seek re-election said their official farewells to Parliament.
WESTERN LEADERS WANT BORDER PLAN - Canada’s western leaders say they plan to push Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week on a detailed plan and timeline to reopen international borders. “Come Thursday we expect the federal government to have a plan, and then we’ll work on building consensus around that,” B.C. Premier John Horgan said Tuesday. But Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said reopening the borders is “inseparably linked” with vaccination uptake.
LIBERALS TO BOLSTER FRENCH - The Liberal government have introduced legislation to strengthen the protection of French in Canada as part of the biggest overhaul to the Official Languages Act in more than three decades, just days before the House of Commons is expected to break for the summer.
FUREY RESPONDS TO QUESTIONS ON FEDERAL AIDES IN ELECTION - Newfoundland and Labrador Liberals came under fire this week after two staff members in the office of federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan went door knocking in support of a provincial Liberal candidate in the winter general election. “What individual staff members do, that don’t work for me or for this government, is none of my business,” Premier Andrew Furey told Progressive Conservative Leader David Brazil in Question Period Tuesday. “These election workers were allowed into Newfoundland and Labrador to get the Liberals elected, simple as that,” Mr.Brazil said. Mr. Furey said he only became aware of the matter after learning about a Globe and Mail article on the subject. From CBC.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
“Private meetings,” says the official schedule from the office of the Prime Minister.*
*-Justin Trudeau and the rest of the Canadian delegation who travelled to the United Kingdom and Belgium for the G7 summit and NATO meeting of heads of state and government checked in at a three-star hotel near the Ottawa airport Tuesday following their return to Canada. However, the Prime Minister was cleared to check out after he received a negative COVID-19 test Wednesday morning. His office says Mr. Trudeau will follow public health rules and advice for Canadians returning from abroad during the pandemic, as will the officials and journalists who also went overseas. Details here.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet holds a press briefing on the reform of the Official Languages Act.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh attends the NDP’s virtual caucus meeting, and then holds a media availability.
The Editorial Board of the Globe and Mail on how close Canada is to ending the pandemic: “J.R.R. Tolkien coined the term “eucatastrophe” to describe the feeling you get when a tale is marching inexorably toward a grim conclusion, and then, when all seems darkest, it unexpectedly delivers what he called “a sudden happy turn … which pierces you with a joy that brings tears.” For Canada, the past few weeks have been eucatastrophic. The rest of the month can be even more so. We finally have the tools to write our happy ending, and close the book on the pandemic.”
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on a Green Party meltdown as a federal election looms: “Let’s see how it’s going over at the Green Party. They have just lost a third of their parliamentary caucus. One hundred per cent of the remaining MPs, all two of them, think it was the fault of the party’s leader, Annamie Paul. She has rejected calls for her to resign. And now Ms. Paul’s leadership is going under review. Oh dear.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s need for a tough online hate speech law now: “That is not to say that anything about introducing laws to safeguard us from this evil is easy. (Though in theory, you would think it should be.) There are legitimate concerns that such laws could be so all-encompassing in scope they put excessive discretion in the hands of government, and before you know it, we’re talking a redux of George Orwell’s 1984. But to the extent this might happen – especially in the early days under a hypothetical new hate-speech regime – it is worth it. Avoiding the matter until you come up with language that makes all sides happy would be folly. Who knows how many more men (and to a lesser extent women) will be radicalized online in the meantime. If other governments’ efforts are any indication, what matters is that the work begins now.”
Don Braid (The Calgary Herald) on why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should wait and allow Alberta voters to fill two Senate seats: “I completely agree with Premier Jason Kenney’s efforts to keep trying, in hopes that the drive for a Triple E Senate (elected, effective and equal) will somehow reignite. As Alberta separatist feeling grows, righting the national power imbalance is essential. Two Alberta Senate seats are now vacant. The Alberta assembly voted Tuesday to urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau not to appoint them until after Alberta’s senatorial election is held Oct. 18. With 15 Senate seats in total currently vacant, Trudeau could go on a patronage binge just before he calls an election.”
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