Green Party politics

Elizabeth May ordered deputies not to associate with leader of Quebec Greens

Leaked emails expose major rift in Canadian green movement
Photo: Denis-Carl Robidoux

The fallout from federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May’s sudden decision to fire three members of her shadow cabinet earlier this week has now expanded to Quebec.

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Yesterday, Ricochet reported on emails that showed B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver had complained to May about an op-ed co-authored by the three critics and published hours before they were dismissed.

“Please, as a federal Green, do nothing to associate yourself with Alex [Tyrrell, leader of the Quebec Green Party].” - Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada

Today Ricochet can report on further disclosures in emails provided by party sources. In one thread between May, Weaver, deputy leader Daniel Green, fired foreign affairs critic Lisa Barrett, and B.C. Green Michael Barkusky, May responded violently to an op-ed by Quebec Green Party leader Alex Tyrrell that was critical of her position on BDS.

“He has (without regard to the Quebec green constitution) removed elected members and alienated most of our GPC members from Quebec. Please, as a federal Green, do nothing to associate yourself with Alex.”

Barrett responded by explaining she had never had any contact with Tyrrell, but chided May for disparaging a fellow Green party leader, arguing that doing so “sows division.”

“Her style of leadership behind closed doors is totally different from what the public sees.” - Alex Tyrrell, leader of the Quebec Green Party

May responded that her comments were not public, adding, “I just felt the need to put BC Greens in some level of sensitivity that this is not necessarily the greenest party now in Quebec.”

May declined to comment for this story.

Quebec Green Party leader responds

Email from Elizabeth May
Sent on Aug. 24, 2016, at 9:28 a.m. PDT

After seeing a copy of the messages, Tyrrell told Ricochet, “It's unfortunate that she's trying to carry out a purge of the left wing in her party by going around and saying things that are not true, trying to say that the Green Party of Quebec is not ‘the greenest party now in Quebec’ when we have the most progressive platform in the country among green parties.”

According to Tyrrell, he tried for years to have a face-to-face meeting with May. When he finally did, he told her that “we can be transparent about” the Quebec Green Party’s positioning to the left of the federal Green Party.

“But she would never agree to transparency, because she doesn't want to say that she's not left, so instead she turns to these insider, backroom tactics of giving orders to people not to associate with us. That's poor leadership. She should really rethink what she's doing and ask herself, ‘Who is responsible for this wave of division in the Green Party?’”

Email from Elizabeth May
Sent on Aug. 24, 2016, at 3:12 p.m. PDT

“Her style of leadership behind closed doors is totally different from what the public sees,” stated Tyrrell, but added that her “leadership is still salvageable, if she's willing to make changes in terms of policy and also in terms of style of leadership. It's unacceptable to to be silencing left-wing voices within a party, a party that she has gone to great lengths to describe as being 'the most democratic party in Canada.'”

Edited on Sept. 15, 2016 at 1:09 EDT to add response from May.
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