Annie Paul, whose short tenure as leader of the Green Party of Canada has been marked by infighting, failed in her bid to secure a seat at the Toronto Center.
“I’m disappointed, it’s hard to lose, but I’m very proud of the effort, the creativity, the innovation our team brought to this race,” Ms. Paul told a short campaign rally, as polls indicated that she was finished. It was done fourth place.
There was nothing for the Greens to cheer for when the election results were in on Monday night. A breakthrough appeared likely in Ontario, with Green candidate Mike Morris on track to win the Kitchener Center. This would make him the first Green MP elected in Ontario. and Elizabeth May, the former party leader, was leading in the Saanich-Gulf Islands, a seat she has held since 2011. The party’s only other incumbent, Paul Manley, was in a three-way race at Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
Ultimately, voters’ concerns about climate change failed to translate into development for a party that was built on environmental causes.
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Canadians essentially decided to send the same MPs back to parliament, Ms Paul said. “So now we’re back to the status quo, except we’re returning, unfortunately, more divided and more polarized than before this election,” she said. “We need to repair these divisions.”
Ms. Paul is faced with tough questions about the campaign she runs. She succeeded Ms. May as leader less than a year ago, and has been treated as a liability on housing. She sought election in a riding that is a Liberal stronghold, and waited until before election day to move to her party’s most viable seats on South Vancouver Island. But he did not address his political future on Monday night and did not answer questions from the media.
Ms. Paul inherited a difficult task: to lead the party to the kind of success that defied the efforts of Ms. May, one of the nation’s best-known advocates for the environment.
The Green Party made its strongest showing in the last federal election, winning three seats in parliament in 2019 and more than a million votes nationwide, accounting for 6.6 percent of the popular vote. Ms. Paul’s task was to do better in the 2021 election.
Instead of momentum, Ms Paul’s brief leadership has been marked by internal battles.
Ms Paul has said racism and sexism were behind the plot to oust her as leader from within the Green Party.
“The first woman of color, the first black person and the first Jewish woman elected to lead a major federal party — it was never a walk in the park,” she said in mid-June amid a leadership battle.
The party’s New Brunswick MP Jenika Atwin joined the Liberal Party in June, citing Ms Paul’s remarks on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. While other federal party leaders were preparing for the prospect of a fall in the election, the defection sparked an internal crisis that swept Ms Paul away from a threatened no-confidence vote.
The party’s finances were depleted in legal fees, leaving little money to run the national election campaign.
On Monday, during her final campaign event before voting closed, Ms. May stood at a roadside rally, reflecting on Ms. Paul’s challenging campaign.
Ms May said: “There is no doubt that the office of her own leader created the circumstances that caused us to lose an MP.” “So it’s definitely been a struggle because people still want to hear her say, ‘I’m really sorry I didn’t reach out to Jenika and put her at the party.’”
Ms. May said she had offered to make way for Ms. Paul to run in the Sanich-Gulf Islands, Ms. May’s own ride and the safest green seat in the country. “But she didn’t even really consider it. She said ‘I’m going to live in Ontario’ and then she narrowed it down to Toronto Center.
“So it’s a brave call.”
During the campaign, Ms Paul explained that she was not spending much time outside the Toronto Center because her presence was not necessarily an asset to her candidates.
Toronto Center has been a liberal stronghold since 2004. In a by-election race last October, Liberal incumbent Marcy Inn won 42 percent of the vote. Ms. Paul came second with 33 percent of the ballots. On Monday night, Ms Ian took her seat but Ms Paul’s support was broken.
The Green Party failed to gather a complete list of candidates in this federal election. Only 252 candidates ran in Canada’s 338 ridings and, on Sunday, the party withdrew support for its candidate in Renfrew-Nipising-Pembroke, Michael Larrivier, for comments he described as a Gestapo tactic of the COVID-19 vaccination passport. Won’t apologize.
The party’s environmental platform promised to promote greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, Canceling all new pipelines and oil exploration, accelerating the increase in carbon pricing, and banning the sale of all passenger vehicles with internal-combustion engines.
But even here, the Greens did not enjoy a moment of unity. Andrew Weaver, climate scientist and former leader of the B.C. Green Party, instead supported the Liberals’ climate plan. “The federal Greens don’t have a climate plan to be completely blunt,” he said.
An internal report by the Federalist Party released during the summer concluded that racism and transphobia are significant problems within the organization that it has failed to manage effectively.
Earlier this month the leaders’ debate – held in English only during the five-week campaign – gave the beleaguered Green leader a spotlight he lacked. Ms Paul took on bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchett on issues of racism and challenged liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s feminist credentials, naming former women he had pulled out of politics.