A tumultuous period in the Green Party of Canada may be coming to an end now that the party has accepted Annamie Paul resignation from the leadership.
The party’s governing council voted to accept Paul’s resignation on Sunday, clearing the way for the Greens to begin a leadership contest. Paul announced last week that she had formally submitted her resignation to the party.
Green Party president Lorraine Rekmans confirmed in an email to CBC that the federal council accepted Paul’s resignation on Sunday and it took effect the same day.
Paul announced at the end of September she would begin the process of stepping down as leader.
“I just asked myself whether this is something I wanted to continue, whether I was willing to put up with the attacks I knew would be coming, whether to continue to fight and struggle just to fulfil my democratically elected role as leader of this party,” Paul told reporters in Toronto. “I just don’t have the heart for it.”
WATCH: Annamie Paul announces resignation
Paul’s departure process was supposed to wrap up shortly after those remarks but negotiations between lawyers prolonged her departure.
Sources told CBC News those negotiations were launched in part to settle the question of compensation for Paul’s legal fees, which she incurred fighting the party’s last attempt to end her leadership.
It’s not clear what the results of those talks were, but Rekmans said the party is ending all negotiations with Paul. The party is also ending Paul’s leadership review — something Paul said caught her by surprise after she publicly said she was stepping down.
Rekmans said the party is now beginning the process of selecting an interim leader and will soon hold a leadership contest for a permanent replacement.
Paul had been leader of the Green Party for just over a year. Green members made Paul — a bilingual former diplomat — the first Jewish woman and Black person elected to lead a major federal political party in Canada.
Her election was supposed to usher in change for a party that ran one of the least diverse slate of candidates in the 2019 federal election. But things began to publicly unravel in July when Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin crossed the floor and joined the Liberals.
The party’s former federal council began trying to remove Paul from the leadership through an early confidence vote before this year’s snap federal election. Paul took her party to arbitration and an adjudicator ruled in Paul’s favour, preventing the party from proceeding.
Paul blamed infighting for election result
Paul led the Greens into the election, which saw the party lose ground in the national vote. Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly lost his seat and Paul herself placed a distant fourth in the Toronto riding she contested. The party held on to former leader Elizabeth May’s seat and gained a foothold in Kitchener Centre, formerly held by the Liberals.
Paul blamed the party’s dismal results on unnamed senior party members she said “took great pleasure in attacking me.” She said the party’s national council stymied any chance of her doing well in the election because it held back some of the resources needed to run a winning campaign.
Paul described the period as one of the most challenging periods in her life, and accused the federal council of racism and misogyny.
“What people need to realize is that when I was elected and put in this role, I was breaking a glass ceiling. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was breaking a glass ceiling that was going to fall on my head and leave a lot of shards of glass that I was going to have to crawl over throughout my time as a leader” she said.
“This was not easy. It has been extremely painful. It has been the worst period in my life, in many respects.”
Rekmans declined to do an interview with CBC for this story. But in an interview with Power and Politics in October, Rekmans did not deny the claim that the party had a racism problem and called it a “challenging” time for Greens.
“There’s no institution in this country that doesn’t have an issue with respect to racism, and as an Indigenous woman and as the first woman Indigenous president of the Green Party of Canada, I would say that this is unacceptable,” she said. “It’s not to be tolerated.”
Rekmans said she couldn’t speak to whether racism was behind the push to oust Paul.