Eight candidates have made it to the final ballot in the race to succeed leader Elizabeth May, the Green Party of Canada said Wednesday.
The Green Party hasn’t held a leadership contest for 14 years. Its new pick will take over at a pivotal time, in a moment where talk of a green economic recovery from COVID-19 is gaining momentum and the possibility of a snap election this fall looms.
“Despite the immense challenges of running a campaign during a pandemic, these remarkable individuals have energized and engaged our members from coast to, coast, to coast,” said interim Green Party Leader Jo-Ann Roberts in a statement Wednesday.
“That’s no small feat.”
The new leader will be announced on Oct. 3 after the results of the ranked-ballot vote are tallied. The deadline for requesting a mail-in ballot was last week, but party members who have already done so can begin submitting names once their ballots arrive — likely within the next week, party spokesperson Rosie Emery said. Online voting will run from Sept. 26 until Oct. 3 at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time.
Elizabeth May, the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, stepped down in November after the last federal election. In that vote, the Greens picked up three seats in Parliament, their best result ever. (May will retain her seat after the new leader is chosen and remains the party’s parliamentary leader.)
“We’re not any longer a group of people in the wilderness,” May said in June. “Right now it’s clear in the pandemic that the policies of the Green Party are the policies everyone’s talking about.”
May has not officially endorsed a candidate. With eight on the ballot, the leadership hopefuls face a deep field.
Annamie Paul — a Toronto-based lawyer with extensive experience in international affairs who ran for the Greens against former finance minister Bill Morneau in 2019 — emerged as the front-runner over the summer. As of the end of July, her campaign had raised $121,000, more than twice as much as any other candidate and representing more than a third of the total money raised for the leadership race.
If elected, Paul would be the first Black woman to become leader of a federal party.
Two former Liberals are also running: Glen Murray, who was Ontario environment minister under former premier Kathleen Wynne, and David Merner, a B.C. lawyer who ditched his former party over its support for pipelines.
The new leader of the @CanadianGreens will take over at a pivotal time, in a moment where talk of a green recovery from COVID-19 is gaining momentum and the possibility of a snap election this fall looms on the horizon.
Other candidates include Amita Kuttner, an astrophysicist and diversity advocate; Quebec-based immigration lawyer Meryam Haddad, who is running as a socialist and has pushed plans for a Green New Deal; lawyer Dimitri Lascaris, a former justice critic for the party; lawyer Andrew West, the attorney general critic for the Ontario Greens; and Dr. Courtney Howard, an emergency physician from Yellowknife who is the first female president of the non-profit Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.
A ninth candidate, Nova Scotia computer scientist and veteran Judy Green, dropped out of the race on Aug. 30 and endorsed Merner.
With some candidates pitching a centrist approach and others pushing the party further left, Green Party executive director Prateek Awasthi said in a statement that the outcome of the vote will be important.
“While they all share Green values, these contestants offer divergent political views, and unique experiences,” Awasthi said.
“Each would lead the party and govern the country differently. The calibre of these contestants speaks volumes for the promise the Green Party offers Canada at this time.”
Emma McIntosh / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada's National Observer