Full disclosure: I used to be a member of the Green Party of Canada. In fact, I was more than that. I was the CEO and Campaign Manager first of the Willowdale Electoral District Association (EDA) and then of the York Centre Electoral District Association. I was at meetings and events with the Party executives, Party staff, and with Elizabeth May, Party Leader.
Then, August 5, 2014, happened.
Recent History lesson: on that day, President Paul Estrin resigned after making pro-Israel comments on a blog run through the Green Party websites. Party donors threatened to stop donating and to quit the party. Elizabeth May distanced herself from the comments, and the party spin doctors claimed Mr. Estrin resigned because of the ‘confusion’ he caused.
The story not covered that same day was that I resigned as CEO of the York Centre EDA, and I cancelled my membership.
I had known for a long time that there were anti-Israel elements in the party. I had tried on several occasions to get policies on Israel and Gaza to be increasingly neutral by putting forward policy amendments for consideration at conventions. My policies did not get anywhere near the support required to make it to the convention agenda.
While I had difficulty getting my policies to the convention floor, a policy called “Revoking the Charitable Status of the Jewish National Fund” did make it to the convention’s agenda.
Among the 28 sponsors was the name Elizabeth May. The Party Leader and a current Member of Parliament wanted to have the Canada Revenue Agency take away the Jewish National Fund’s charitable status because the sponsors believe that the Jewish National Fund does not comply with international human rights law. I contacted the kind people at The Hill newspaper who, presumably, contacted her office, and then her name disappeared from the list of sponsors. Fortunately, I have a screen shot of her name on the sponsor list.
Now, I am not a current JNF donor, but my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents have all been donors and supporters of this organization. I have known it always to be an environmentally proactive organization. This should be in line with the interests of the global Green political movement, of which the Green Party of Canada is a significant player.
It was beyond me why the leader of the Green Party would have associated herself in any way with an anti-Israel segment of the party.
It is even more befuddling as to why she is now siding even more with this segment of the party, and having the Green Party of Canada make such demands on the Canada Revenue Agency.
Then there is the Boycott Divestment Sanction (BDS) proposal. I couldn’t believe that people in the most educated party in the Canadian political landscape decided to put forward a proposal supporting the BDS movement. And then they passed it!
Elizabeth May has rightfully distanced herself from the BDS proposal but has decided to stay with the party. She has also floated the idea of calling a special meeting to reopen the debate. I guess she thinks the more “critical thinking” sector of the party will come out to participate and vote – and outnumber the group that originally voted to pass BDS.
Regardless, it happened. A federal political party in Canada voted to support an anti-Israel movement – one that also shows deep-seeded antisemitism (even though its supporters say it is a human rights movement).
The result of this has yet to be seen, but I predict that this will mark the end of the Green Party. They will see their candidates skewered at all-candidates meetings and will see their share of the vote plummet.