(Ottawa) After a year marked by disheartening election results, highly publicized infighting and funding issues, the Green Party of Canada is ready to elect a new leader – or new leaders.
Members of the formation began voting on Saturday. The final result is expected to be announced on November 19.
Candidates were quick to recognize the party’s problems. Everyone has solutions to offer to solve them.
If there are six names on the ballot, four of them want to establish a model of co-leadership, pledging to give responsibilities to one of their “opponents”.
A well-known personality is among its candidates: the former leader of the Green Party from 2006 to 2019, Elizabeth May. She is trying to return to leading the party with her ally Jonathan Pedneault, a human rights expert from Montreal.
In an online debate that drew just under 500 of the party’s roughly 22,000 members, Mme May highlighted her experience and recalled that she left a healthy party when she quit.
“When I left, we had just had our greatest electoral success, we had three deputies. We had a well-funded bank account. I was certain then that we had a good plan for the future. »
In addition to electing three deputies in the 2019 elections, the Greens obtained 6.5% of the votes cast. But these 1.2 million votes, too distributed throughout the party, did not allow it to obtain official party status in the House of Commons.
But two years later, under Annamie Paul, the first black woman to become leader of a federal party in 2020, support has plummeted to 2.3%, its lowest result in 20 years. Even Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party received twice as many votes.
Mme Paul resigned shortly after the election. She accused some members of being racist and misogynistic.
Mme May has called for an internal investigation into these allegations. She feels that mistakes have been made on all sides. But during the debate, she said that Mr.me Paul did not have the capabilities to be the leader the party needed. The formation needs someone “who will listen to others”, she stressed.
The member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is more pleased with the ability of the candidates in this leadership race. “Unlike the 2020 race, one of these candidates is fantastic and I form a tandem with him. We have a feeling of solidarity that makes us all want to be elected to Parliament. »
The Greens also face greater environmental competition from other political parties.
Attracting the attention of the electorate will be a difficult challenge. For the other duo in the race – Anna Keenan and Chad Walcott – the party needs new faces for this crucial time. “The ultimate goal is to increase the popular vote and get more Green MPs elected in the next election,” said Mr.me Keenan in a recent interview. The last two years have been difficult. This leadership race must be a turning point for the party. »
Simon Gnocchini-Messier, who is running alone, wants the party to form a social democratic coalition. During the debate, he quipped that Greens were all on the same page about the need to move forward and focus on climate change.
The sixth candidate, Sarah Gabrielle Baron, a longtime activist, argues that the controversy has not moved away from the party during the leadership race.
“The most serious problems have not been raised enough,” she said in an interview. Our organization remains weak because we do not respect our own charter. It is a superb document on which my program is based. »
In September, party leader Lorraine Rekmans also resigned, citing internal problems. In a letter sent to members, she wrote that there was no vision for a better future within the party.
The party went through new storms: it had to consider closing its headquarters because of its financial difficulties. The Federal Council even considered putting the leadership race on ice and several members of the electoral committee resigned.