Recent controversy shows the Green Party is not what it used to be

The party is having a serious identity crisis that could hurt its chances in future elections

Annamie Paul, Party leader of the Green Party of Canada. (

If the four major political parties in Canada were our family members, the Green Party is rapidly turning into the uncle that hits 45, buys an exotic sports car, and starts dating someone half their age. In short, they could be in trouble.

The past month has been a turbulent one for the federal Green Party of Canada. Former MP Jenica Atwin blasted the statement leader Annamie Paul made on the genocide of Palestinians by Israeli military forces, calling it “totally inadequate” and voicing her support for Palestine.

Shortly after that, former party senior advisor Paul Zatzman, in an outburst that can only be described as unprofessional, vowed to defeat Atwin and other MPs that have expressed solidarity with Palestine by bringing progressive climate champions “progressive climate champions who are antifa and pro LGBT and pro indigenous sovereignty and Zionists!!!!!” Naturally, this resulted in Atwin crossing the floor and joining the Liberals.

However, in a truly bonkers twist of fate, much of the blowback has eluded Zatzman and fallen onto Paul, with calls coming from within the party to oust Paul from leadership. Paul, for her part, has dismissed these calls as coming from a “small group of councillors… on their way out” and accused the councillors in question of making these claims due to racism and sexism.

Upon reading the letter calling for a non-confidence vote, one cannot help but think of the “angry black woman” trope that has been used for centuries to delegitimize the concerns of women of colour.

However, this is not the only conflict occurring in the Green Party’s ranks. This past week, a few federal and provincial Green Party members — including BC Green Party member Cheryl Weins — were called out for accepting an interview on a Prince George radio show hosted by former BC Ecosocialists Party leader Stuart Parker.

For context, Parker had resigned from the party after comments defending the transphobic views of J.K. Rowling and accusing fellow BC Greens member Nicola Spurling, a trans woman, of “driving feminists away from the cause of trans equality.”

All because Spurling unfriended former homeless advocate Judy Graves after she spoke favouring a long-gone billboard supporting Rowling in Vancouver.

Wiens later posted a long and vague twitter thread claiming that she wished to have an open discussion on trans rights while refusing to say she would not appear on Parker’s show in the future.

Between this smaller controversy and the bigger issue in Ottawa concerning Paul’s position in leadership, it is fair to say that the Green Party is seeing trouble on a scale they’re not used really to.

Under former leader Elizabeth May, the party was able to present a united front and position itself as an advanced option that, at the very least, could light a sizable fire under the Liberal Party’s rear.

True, this is Paul’s first time in leadership, and of course that means there will be a few bumps in the road. However, this bump is progressively growing into a possibly insurmountable hill. And if the Green Party cannot figure out who it is and what it stands for soon, it may very well be the hill they die on.