September 2019’s march for climate was supposed to be a tipping point for the Green Party of Canada: an opportunity to join mainstream politics as a credible option for all Canadians. However, things did not go as planned: the party largely underperformed, earning only three seats.
However, since long-time leader Elizabeth May’s decision to vacate her position, things have gone from bad to worse. Newly-minted leader Annamie Paul’s leadership was initially criticized, out rejected by a sizable portion of party executives and rank-and-filers. In the process, she lost an MP to the Liberals and had to fend off potential court injunctions to remove her from her position. Her path to the starting line of these elections was very difficult. The months of in-fighting have truly hurt the party’s appeal at the worst possible moment and it now has very little time to get unified and organized for a national campaign.
The Greens’ immediate goals are to:
Present a united front
Rally around the leadership of Annamie Paul and showcase why the Green option should still attract the attention of voters.
Help elect Annamie Paul
Canada’s first Black and Jewish federal leader, Ms. Paul is a charismatic, functionally-bilingual leader who, on paper, could bring the party to new heights. It all starts with winning the federal riding of Toronto Centre, a historic Liberal stronghold.
Insert climate change as a ballot question
The Green Party is Canada’s authority on anything related to sustainability. Its expertise will never be questioned. With climate change being an issue top-of-mind to Canadian youth, the party can potentially tap into a voters’ pool that prove import.
Green Party's strengths
- Novelty: From its anti-system stance to the introduction of candidates with atypical profiles, the Green Party is a clear alternative to voters disappointed with traditional parties.
- Boldness: By all accounts, the party has nothing to lose, and can push the envelope, something established parties often can’t do.
Green Party's challenges
- Lack of unity: The party is clearly divided, with officials publicly undermining Annamie Paul’s leadership. These types of behaviours are off-putting to most voters.
- Ceiling: The party is not really favoured to increase its current seat count, and is even forecasted to lose another seat, which would put it back to its formative years (1 seat).
X-factor for the Green Party
- Annamie Paul: Will she have a “Jack Layton moment” she can use to become a factor in this race?
——— Tiéoulé Traoré is a former Director, Government Relations at NATIONAL Public Relations