Annamie Paul won’t commit to publicly disavowing her former adviser Noah Zatzman, a prerequisite to avoid a non-confidence vote on her leadership, saying she needs time to think it over.

The comments came during a press conference Wednesday, when the Green Party leader discussed Tuesday night’s emergency federal council meeting. It’s understood that meeting was called to set a date for a non-confidence vote, but that plan was squashed. Instead, the council adopted a resolution requiring Paul to renounce Zatzman and publicly commit to supporting the Green caucus, or face a non-confidence vote July 20.

Paul said she has seen the resolution, but hasn’t formally received it, and cited that as a reason to not take a clear stand on where she will fall on Zatzman Wednesday. Previously, Paul has noted Zatzman no longer works in her office.

“It's an important matter, I want to take it very seriously. I want to make sure that I give it the thought it deserves,” she said. “This resolution, as I understand, it was passed at 11 p.m. last night, so I will be taking some time to reflect.”

Paul did, however, “categorically reject” any suggestion she doesn’t publicly support the Green caucus.

Still, Paul conceded her tenure hasn’t been rosy. She said when she became leader, she “inherited the current set” of councillors, and that while many are committed to transforming the party to be more diverse, not everyone is.

“It is time to acknowledge that even though our members support this work, not all councillors do... They produced a list of allegations, allegations that were so racist, so sexist, that they were immediately disavowed by both of our MPs as offensive and inflammatory,” Paul said.

The flurry of accusations in the letter, obtained by the Canadian Press, was signed by six of 15 federal councillors and reveals the depth of the rift tearing the party apart.

“Since her election as leader, Annamie Paul has acted with an autocratic attitude of hostility, superiority and rejection, failing to assume her duty to be an active, contributing, respectful, attentive member of federal council, failing to develop a collaborative working relationship, failing to engage in respectful discussions, and failing to use dialogue and compromise,” the document claims.

It also says Paul has attended few council meetings and “has displayed anger in long, repetitive, aggressive monologues and has failed to recognize the value of any ideas except her own.”

“The plan of this small group of councillors, who are on their way out, did not succeed,” Paul said.

"Collaboration and collegiality does not mean bowing down. It doesn't mean being brought to heel,” Green Party Leader @AnnamiePaul said Wednesday. #cdnpoli

Councillors Lia Renaud, who represents the Nova Scotia wing, and Lucas Knell, who is the Newfoundland and Labrador representative, both resigned Tuesday night, reflecting the regional toll of the infighting. Notably, the Green Party’s federal council seats for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are vacant, calling into question the ability of the party to compete in Atlantic Canada.

Paul said as a new leader, it’s important for her to recognize when she makes mistakes, but that because of her identity, she feels there is a double standard being applied.

“Often when people like me are elected or appointed to senior leadership roles, the rules of the game seem to change,” she said. “Suddenly there is a need for more oversight, heightened accountability, swifter and more severe sanctions and a hiving off of responsibilities previously related to the roles.

“That is something that I will resist… Collaboration and collegiality does not mean bowing down. It doesn't mean being brought to heel,” she said.

Paul then put the Liberal Party of Canada in her crosshairs, casting Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin’s defection as a “craven” play for a majority in an upcoming election.

“The Liberal Party of Canada has demonstrated that it is hell-bent on winning their majority at almost any cost,” she said. “By their own admission in recent days, they have sought to sow division, and to create disarray within the Green Party of Canada for their own political advantage in key regions where Greens are surging.”

— With files from the Canadian Press

John Woodside / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada's National Observer

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It is truly craven for the "big three" parties to sow division in the 4th federal party by trying to cherry pick the few members of parliament they have and cast contempt and aspersions on potential candidates. This level of incivility bears comparison to US politics of hate/divisiveness/disrespect. Heaven forefend!!!!

Lots of comment over at the Tyee, where multiple commentators are pointing out the bottom-line that the Green Party has a tradition of the Leader representing the approved platform, not dictating it; going along with it should be the price of holding the leadership.

And the Green Party platform on Palestine is about the same as Atwin's comments, very different from Paul's. She's basically demanding support as the Leader, over support for that tradition, that platform.

This is an own-goal. If the other three parties are taking advantage, it's a bit shameful, because the Greens are so little and weak, there's no need. But the blame here is largely internal.

I haven't seen the allegations so can't judge if they are racist or sexist or not....but this dust up started with a zionist threatening to defeat any candidate that supported or in any way spoke up for Palestinians. Am I alone in finding that threat racist?

I've always believed that no sex, race or class was exempt from international law.......yet Israel has been in violation of the Geneva Conventions for decades........and zionists seem to reduce those violations to 'having the right to defend themselves'.

That this sense of impunity and entitlement should surface in Canada's Green party is unfortunate. Greens need to address that issue, not get sidelined into issues of identity and gender.

Not that the other parties are any better on Israel. What makes this controversial is that the Green party actually does have a good policy on Israel, and then a party apparatchik spoke up in a way that completely contradicted it, in the teeth of one of their very few MPs. And so then the question becomes, what does the leader have to say? And Paul . . . far as I can tell, has still said NOTHING about the original issue. She hasn't acted either like a traditional leader from some other party by putting her stamp on the issue, or like a leader in the mold the Greens aspire to have, who would step up to defend and enforce the party's policy as defined by the grass roots.

So not too impressive. But she still has a point. She's new, still wet behind the ears, and this is her first gaffe. Most new leaders get a gaffe or three before you get a cabal trying to oust them. But maybe not if they're a black woman, apparently. Frankly, if I were a Green I probably would have voted for someone other than Paul; she doesn't strike me as radical or economically left wing enough for my taste. But she won the election, she's the leader fair and square, and I think it's a bit skeezy to have the knives out for her this fast.

One of the main reasons I decided to become a member of the Green party was the respect and admiration I have for Elizabeth May; her comments and observations were always accurate and to the point, with the environment always holding center stage.

Not only I have been unimpressed with Paul from the start, frankly I can't tell the Greens from the NDP anymore!

Time for me to reconsider my Green membership!

Annamie's main rationale for being leader is that she is different, so she can only defend herself as a presumed target of prejudice. For her, it is all about groups taking turns, not individuals demonstrating competence, but she also cherry-picks which minorities she will listen to, and sabotages her rivals. It is a real shame to have the environment, and the Palestinians, held hostage to such posturing.

The Green Party of Canada needs to grow up.

I seriously considered voting for them last time in Vancouver Granville mainly in the strength of Elizabeth May's reputation and intellectual focus, and on their opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline project. As it turns out, they were good on the philosophical high ground, but terrible in the trenches.

Case in point: Their blanket policy to run a candidate in every riding in the nation, even as an infant party, was poorly thought out in Vancouver Granville when they ran a fake candidate who no one heard of before and whose published credentials were specious. That's bad enough, but then May herself admitted during the campaign that they had planned to float a paper candidate and rent a virtually empty campaign office with all the staff working on Independent Jody Wilson-Raybould's campaign. Say what? Apparently May offered JWR a position in the Green party; it was mysterious and disappointing that she turned it down at the time. Maybe she saw the weak party foundations before the rest of us did.

I voted for JWR a second time, this time as an Independent, but only after she finally changed her mind and came out in very late opposition to TMX after first supporting it as a Liberal MP. Once elected, she was very quiet as a backbencher until recently on the Residential Schools issue. Now she is a superb critic who has found her voice in well-written media opinion pieces. She has elevated the discourse substantially and deserves voter's consideration during the next election.

Meanwhile, the Green Party is tearing itself apart.

For people like me the accusations about racism and so forth are more fuel spilled onto the practice of running sacrificial candidates when you can scarcely afford the political capital to do so. The latest internal struggle is at serious risk of breaking vital gears in the Green machine and is a serious distraction from developing a more effective political strategy of fielding credible candidates in the limited number of ridings where they are not in competition with other progressives, to host an adult conversation with the other progressive parties on electoral and policy co-operation, to reject the sheer stupidity of devoting Green Party staff time to non-Green candidates, and to increasing the resources put into publishing as widely as possible the more intelligent and workable parts of the Green agenda.

Running a candidate -- any candidate or their pet cat, it seems -- in every riding in the nation with a such a small party is mathematical folly that reduces the otherwise focused, healthy Green intellectual diet to genetically modified mass-produced political fast food. First, though, the Greens have to make peace with each other, otherwise the NDP, Independents, Bloc or Libs will steal the stage as strategic voters continue to keep the Conservatives on the sidelines.

I have always felt that a party would be better off growing from the provincial level first before hitting the Federal stage. Seeing the Green Party struggle to get seats and make a real show of it kind of proves my point. In Ontario we are starting to see young voters turn away from high spending big promise's of the big two. I for one am seriously watching this as my wishes for a healthy environment grow over big ticket spending. To see the greens as the opposition for a few trips in the provincial house would be interesting. Never be sure of what the future holds, it might be a Green Party growing under the front porch.