Revolving doors at the Green Party of Canada. ANOTHER resignation higher up the food chain

Jacques Rivard Elizabeth May and Adriane Carr, the putative successor

Well this will be a great disappointment for the remaining Green Party activists in Quebec. I really and seriously hope it isn’t the last straw for the Parti Vert du Canada in Quebec. I was down in Montreal, last year, and I met with a number of Greens there. They were by and large pretty disappointed with the Green Party and how it fails to relate to Quebec. And I am being very generous with their sentiments here. Frankly, I thought they were going to flip out, and they were almost desperately eager to see new leadership. There were barely any French language resources available to them during the election, and they quite rightly felt that they were a sideshow to the Green Party of Canada in the last general election.

Then last fall, Jacques Rivard was recruited by Elizabeth May as the brand new Quebec Deputy Leader. He is pretty well known in Quebec, and his appointment was well received by those Quebecois that I know. That is with the exception of Claude William Genest, who found out he was being replaced as Deputy Leader by reading the public notice of Jacques Appointment. Well last week, Jacques Rivard cut and ran from the Party. Actually, that sounds bad, and I do not mean to say that he is a quitter. It`s just that he bailed so fast, that you could see the smoking trail all the way from Toronto. There was quite a fanfare when he was recruited, but I am afraid that his departure was very quiet indeed. He basically announced on Facebook that he was outa there last week, and today our Dear Leader put an unusually brief and cryptic note out to announce it. I daresay that the current, and soon to be former leadership of the Party is having trouble keeping up with all the departures. They might want to save some time and make boilerplate resignation notices, so all they have to do is change the name, then it will not take them a full week to let the rest of the world know. I mean, this year has seen the national Campaign manager go, (Catherine Johanson), the Executive Director, and the SGI campaign manager (John Fryer). Who is left minding the shop?

I just won`t bother going into the monotonously long list of people like Greg Morrow, and oh so many more who have quit, been fired, or resigned to `spend more time with their families` prior to this years exodus. In my opinion, almost every departure announcement was spinning the fact that Elizabeth May doesn`t play well with others. Now the Party has but a small handful of people left, and they are still being shuffled out the door in a kind of revolving lineup of temporary saviours. The new saviours wear pretty thin when there is no substance to our mangement team, and the only concrete observable, and objective fact is that there has been no continuity in the management of the Party. Mr. Rivard is but the latest in a chain of dozens of people who came in to great fanfare, and left very shortly therafter quietly through the side door. Elizabeth May is the common denominator in all this, and the revolving door, and indeed everything that has happened revolves around her.

Why is it that I am one of the few people who dares to publicly point, and ask, WHY ARE WE PUTTING UP WITH THIS GONG SHOW! I mean, I am far from the only person who has put thousands of hours, and a lot of care and thought into supporting the Green Party of Canada. Why does this culture exist of refusing to recognise that the emperor has no clothes? I have heard it again and again from GPC activists all across Canada. They are not happy with the leadership, but they do not want to appear disloyal by expressing their doubts openly.  Well, in my humble opinion, loyalty is a two way street. It is earned, not gifted in perpetuity. To me, when Elizabeth May publicly called on Canadians to vote strategically. she not only broke her solemn promise NOT to take such a position when she was running for the Leadership. She betrayed the trust that we had collectively placed in her to lead us through a general election.

A handpicked core of Elizabeth May loyalists have run the party into the ground. I mean, Sharon Labchuk is now the Quebec organiser! Is there something wrong with me? Is it not strange that there not a single Elizabeth May loyalist who actually lives in Quebec, and speaks the language? WHY are PEI, and Central Nova Greens the only `talent` left for the Party to draw upon? We have a Central Nova campaign hand replacing the well regarded John Fryer as Campaign manager in SGI. Now tell me what great lessons were learned in Central Nova that need to be transferred bodily from the extreme east coast to the opposite end of the country. The Party has decided, under Elizabeth May`s direction, that the one and only priority is to elect Elizabeth. Every penny that can be scraped up has been siphoned off to SGI. The odds are very long, and got longer when the `team`could not find anybody in one of the biggest Electoral District Associations the Green Party of Canada has, who could, or would run the campaign.  I feel a sinking feeling, like it was a bad bet. Could the dismal track record have something to do with why I am doubtful? Why oh why can I not convince myself one more time that THIS time, things will be different?

Well, I have something a little less gloomy to report. It is cards on the table time for the GPC this summer. There is a directive motion on the table to initiate an immediate leadership race at this summers General Meeting in Toronto. You can find the text in the members zone on the website. Yes the members zone is still there, and at last check, literally DOZENS of people were deciding our fate in that oft forgotten corner of the internet. There are multiple leadership candidates lined up on the one hand, and on the other there is an embattled leader, pulling every trick out of her bag to eliminate leadership races, and have tidy little reviews, or what I would characterise as confirmation hearings every so often.

A leadership win at this time will be a mixed blessing for the next leader of the Party. There will be an unholy mess to clean up. Broken finances, membership numbers collapsing, EDA`s collapsing, (There have been 7 EDA`s decertified in May and June of this year alone), and long time activists and old campaign hands are hanging up their gloves. Close to zero employee retention,…. It will take someone with genuine, and PROVEN mangement expertise. A conciliator, who demonstrates command of the fundamental political skills of dialogue, and accomodation. I would sure like it to be a Francophone voice, to make sure that we are able to seize an historic opportunity with the Quebec electorate. It needs to be a person who will listen , rather than tell. Someone who is capable of recruiting the skills to plan, and deliver a message that is actually targetted, and supported by the electorate that we seek to win over. And you will meet that someone in Toronto this summer.

If you haven`t already purchased your ticket for the BGM this summer in August, perhaps you ought to now. There will be a fundamental choice to make, and you can test your loyalty to the Party you have served over the loyalty you owe to Elizabeth May. I only hope that the Party survives until August, and my faith in the democratic process informs me that THIS party is ready to put a failed experiment behind it.

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