OTTAWA — The turmoil, infighting and conflict plaguing the Green Party started just days after Annamie Paul was elected leader, CTV News has learned.
Green Party sources say Paul and the party clashed over her expected salary.
CTV News has agreed not to disclose their identities, because they were not authorized to speak to media.
Paul asked for “significantly” more compensation than the party paid former leader Elizabeth May, according to sources.
May received a salary top-up from the Green Party in addition to her salary as a member of Parliament.
Sources say the unelected Paul wanted to be paid about the same as an MP.
The base salary for an MP is $185,800.
Negotiations became so heated, sources say, that Paul suggested she would resign, or refuse to allow the party to use her photo for fundraising efforts.
“I think the long-term damage that (the Green Party of Canada is) doing to (its) brand as a political party is significant,” said political campaign strategist Zain Velji. “I suspect that this might be the beginning of the end, or the middle of the end as you kind of look at it right now, of the modern day Green Party.”
Last month former Green Party MP Jenica Atwin crossed the floor to the Liberal Party — an exit triggered by her opposition to Paul’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Soon after, six of 15 federal councillors voted to initiate a non-confidence process in a bid to remove Paul from her role as leader.
In a letter, the group described Paul as having an “autocratic attitude of hostility, superiority and rejection.”
Paul denounced the allegations as racist, and as a sexist attack.
The non-confidence vote is scheduled for July 20.
If 75 per cent of councillors pass the motion, grassroots members then will decide if Paul should be removed as leader, at another vote next month.
Sources say the party is in financial trouble, staff have been temporarily laid off, and there is an internal dispute over releasing $250,000 to support Paul’s bid to win a seat in Parliament.
The timing of this discord comes with a potential election on the horizon where the Green Party’s top priority, the environment, is expected to be a ballot box issue for many Canadians.
“What it has done is basically cast a cloud over Annamie Paul,” said Nik Nanos, Nanos Research Chief Data Scientist. “And people wonder if there’s an issue with her leadership, or whether the issue is with the individuals on the Green Council.”