Opinion: Green Party of Canada airs grass-stained laundry
The Green Party, it is well known, throbs with love for the planet, the trees and everything that crawls on the earth. On the other hand, it always seemed a little questionable about human beings, like they were some kind of acne on Gaia’s face.
Most notably, while the party is the first to proselytize what we have called the Brotherhood of Men, a significant number of its members appear to have decidedly anti-Philadelphia attitudes towards their fellow human beings. Some types of them, I mean.
For example, the Jews. While the government of Israel is as valid a subject of criticism as any, more than a few Greens have shown an obsession with the Jewish state bordering on paranoia, repeatedly citing Israel for attacks. out of all proportion to its faults, as if the only functioning democracy in the Middle East was not only morally equivalent to the bestial dictatorships that surround it, but worse.
But whatever apprehensions the Greens have towards people, or certain peoples, they are nothing compared to the particular hatred they reserve for each other. Despite all the cuddly image of the party, the Greens have recently shown a talent for internal struggle that would put the Borgias to shame.
It all started with the outbreak of fighting last month in the Middle East: Hamas rocket attacks against Israel and Israel’s counterattacks against Hamas strongholds in Gaza. Party leader Annamie Paul released a statement that followed the usual cautious formula for party leaders in this country, denouncing with an equal hand both the deliberate killing of civilians by Hamas and the failure to Israel to avoid killing them.
For the majority of his caucus of three, it was too much to bear. Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin tweeted that there were “no two sides to this conflict, only human rights violations” by Israel. “I stand with Palestine and condemn the unthinkable airstrikes in Gaza,” she wrote. “End apartheid! Another, Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly, claimed that Israel was pursuing a policy of “ethnic cleansing.”
This prompted a response from Ms Paul’s senior advisor, Noah Zatzman, which could be described mildly as threatening. In a Facebook post, he vowed to topple MPs and “bring in progressive climate champions who are anti-fa and pro LGBT and pro indigenous and Zionist sovereignty !!!! “
As a rule, political staff do not publicly threaten to defend members of their own party, with or without multiple exclamation marks. Nonetheless, Ms Paul refused to distance herself from her advisor, even as party members demanded her dismissal.
Unable to support either the leader’s iron fist or the politics behind it, Ms. Atwin set off last week for, among others, the Liberal Party. Within days, she had issued a statement retracting her previous views and supporting the same even-handed position that had prompted her to quit the Greens.
“The Palestinians are suffering,” she wrote. “Israelis are also suffering and their loved ones in Canada and around the world. No one wins with war. It was, I hardly need to add, entirely of his own volition.
As for the Liberals, having recruited at the beginning of the week a deputy too hostile to Israel even for the Greens, the party ended the week by announcing that it would convene an emergency summit on anti-Semitism. This too was quite a coincidence.
Meanwhile, back on Planet Green, the party’s governing body, the Federal Council, met on Tuesday evening to decide whether to demand the resignation of Ms Paul, less than a year after her election to office. head. Eventually, it was decided to let her stay, on condition that she hold a press conference and issue a statement in which she “would reject Noah Zatzman’s attacks and explicitly support the GPC caucus.”
Usually parties require caucus to support the leader. Only the Greens would demand that the leader support the caucus. At last count, it would be Mr. Manly and former party leader Elizabeth May.
In any case, rather than “bow down” or “be brought in line” as she put it, Ms. Paul counterattacked, calling her detractors within the party “racist” and “sexist”. “. It is not impossible that this could be the case, even in the extremely sensitive area of the Green Party. Long before this latest controversy, supporters of Ms. Paul, who is black and Jewish, complained of a double standard in the party’s treatment of her.
“It’s very hard not to see this process through the lens of race, gender and religion,” Sean Yo, an organizer for Ms. Paul, told the Toronto Star in April. “I want to be very clear that I am not trying to portray this organization as blatantly racist. I say there have been prolonged and profound challenges for Annmie to be effective in this role … and I observe that the level of leadership in this organization is predominantly white.
But this is also the case where accusations of racism and sexism sting the most, and therefore are most effective, when they are made against those most keen to avoid such labels. Which may explain why the hotbeds of racism and sexism today, judging by the frequency with which such accusations are made, are not the nation’s construction sites and football locker rooms, but the living rooms of the nation. university faculties and women’s publishing collectives.
It is by no means finished. Ms Paul could still face a vote of no confidence at the next Federal Council meeting on July 21. Ms May was last seen talking about an attempt to persuade Ms Atwin to return to the party, even as other party members were talking about recruiting her to replace Ms Paul. The most beautiful Canada Day looks meaner all the time.
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