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Timeline: Annamie Paul’s turbulent tenure as Green Party leader –

Since she became leader of the Green Party of Canada last year, Toronto lawyer Annamie Paul has struggled to gain political traction, losing a byelection bid for a seat in the House of Commons and facing unprecedented infighting in the party.

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Green Party Leader Annamie Paul talks to Adrienne Arsenault about allegations of racism and sexism within politics, including a critical letter from within her party, which she says uses one of the ‘oldest tropes in the book’ by describing her as an angry Black woman. 4:41

Since she became leader of the Green Party of Canada last year, Toronto lawyer Annamie Paul has struggled to gain political traction, losing a byelection bid for a seat in the House of Commons and facing unprecedented infighting in the party.

The Greens began Canada’s 43rd Parliament with three MPs, the most in party history. Since then, they’ve lost one MP when the party’s first elected representative from Atlantic Canada, Jessica Atwin, crossed the floor to sit with the Liberals.

Atwin said Paul’s public statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “played a role” in her decision to leave the Green Party in June.

Since then, Paul has been fending off criticism from within the party and fighting to keep her job. She has accused her critics within the party of opposing her leadership because of racism and sexism.

A former staff member for Global Affairs Canada at the mission to the European Union who is fluent in four languages, Paul was also an adviser at the International Criminal Court before entering electoral politics. 

The first Black and Jewish woman to lead a major Canadian party, Paul was initially hailed by political analysts as a significant threat to the NDP and governing Liberals.

Below is a timeline of some key events Paul has faced since becoming Green Party leader: 

Nov. 4, 2019: Elizabeth May steps down as Green Party of Canada leader after 13 years at the helm. She pledges to remain an MP and the party’s leader in Parliament.

Oct. 3, 2020: Annamie Paul is elected leader of the Green Party on the eighth round of voting. 

WATCH | Greens discuss revoking leader Annamie Paul’s party membership:

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Federal Green Party Leader Annamie Paul faces a non-confidence vote later this month. Sources have told CBC News that the party’s federal council has also discussed revoking her membership. 5:16

Oct. 26, 2020: Paul places second in a byelection in Toronto Centre. She also ran there in 2019 and placed a distant fourth. But she improved her share of the vote by 25 percentage points; Liberal Marci Ien won the seat by just more than 2,000 votes. Paul later confirmed she intends to run in Toronto Centre again.

April 2021: The Toronto Star publishes a series of articles airing allegations that Paul faces resistance within the party. The cause of the resistance appears mixed, with sources noting that officials remain committed to Elizabeth May and also that Paul’s role as the first elected Black and female Jewish leader is unique. There are also harsh critiques by former party insiders over how the Greens have handled allegations of racism or sexism and diversity outreach issues.

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Green Party Leader Annamie Paul celebrates after winning the party’s leadership vote in in Ottawa on Oct. 3, 2020. Paul succeeded Elizabeth May, who stepped down last fall after leading the party for 13 years. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

May 10, 2021: As fighting raged between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, Paul issues a statement calling for a ceasefire and condemning both Palestinian rocket attacks and what appeared to be excessive Israeli military force. Green Party MP Jenica Atwin of Fredericton called the statement “totally inadequate,” adding “End Apartheid.”

May 14, 2021: Noah Zatzman, who was Paul’s senior adviser at the time, takes to Facebook to criticize Green MPs and others on their stances on violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. He tells pro-Palestinian MPs that the party will “work to defeat you,” igniting a firestorm within its senior ranks.  

WATCH | Green leader says attempt to force her out driven by racism, sexism:

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Green Leader Annamie Paul joins Power & Politics to discuss the state of her party and her leadership. 12:15

June 10, 2021: Atwin leaves the Green Party caucus, crossing the floor of the House of Commons to join the governing Liberals. Atwin said there were too many “distractions” in the Greens and she wanted to work in a more “supportive and collaborative” environment. Recent party infighting over issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict took her away from the issues that matter most to her constituents, she said.

June 16, 2021: Party officials say they will vote on a measure of non-confidence on Paul’s leadership on July 20. Paul pledges to stay on as Green Party leader and says attempts to force her out of the top job were being driven by racism and sexism.

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Paul is seen during a TV interview in the House of Commons in November 2020. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

June 29, 2021: A motion is tabled at the party’s federal council meeting to hold back $250,000 previously earmarked for Paul’s next election campaign in Toronto Centre. Party executives cite a dire financial situation for the move. 

July 14, 2021: Already facing a challenge to her leadership, Paul also now faces the prospect of losing her party membership, party insiders told CBC News.

July 18, 2021: A vote of non-confidence in Paul’s leadership of the Green Party of Canada is cancelled, sources tell CBC News, and a review of her membership in the party will not be initiated.