Citizen Action Monitor

Elizabeth May’s mishandling of the Green’s BDS controversy bound to create disharmony in the Party

Dissension in the ranks could jeopardize May’s call for consensus decision making in December when members revisit the BDS resolution.

No 1796 Posted by fw, October 9, 2016

A series of five recent articles by Ricochet has, to say the least, not been flattering to Elizabeth May’s handling of the controversy swirling around the party’s adoption of the BDS resolution. The latest in the series of articles, an editorial, opens with this assessment:

Elizabeth May has built her long and distinguished career around the idea that she is the archetypal anti-politician. Openness, honesty, and transparency have been her mantras since taking the helm of Canada’s Green Party, and she has campaigned on the importance of allowing elected MPs to vote their conscience. Sadly, her handling of the BDS debate within her own party has revealed another side of the popular politician. This is not an editorial we wanted to write. We were more interested in publishing May’s answers to questions we and many others had about a series of leaked emails we published, but also about her firing of three critics, her handling of the BDS resolution and her future with the party.

Among the other Ricochet articles, one in particular captures, for me, a few of May’s key missteps. I refer to the September 14 piece by Derrick O’Keefe’s interview of Dimitri Lascaris, titled Why I was fired by Elizabeth May. Links to the other four articles in the series are at the bottom of this post.

This post is my paraphrased summary of the Lascaris piece. To read O’Kecefe’s original piece in Ricochet, click on the following linked title.


Why I was fired by Elizabeth May by Derrick O’Keefe, September 14, 2016

In an exclusive interview with Ricochet, former Green justice critic Dimitri Lascaris explained why Elizabeth May fired him and why he plans to continue the fight “to protect the Greens’ controversial BDS resolution.”

Here’s my summary of O’Keefe’s background intro to the Lascaris interview

On Sep. 13, The Tyee published an opinion piece signed by three Green Party shadow cabinet members, Dimitri Lascaris, Lisa Barrett and Colin Griffiths and other Greens, affirming their continuing support for the party’s adoption of a pro-BDS policy resolution. As well, they rejected BC’s Green Party leader Andrew Weaver’s criticism for allowing the resolution.

On the same day, GPC leader Elizabeth May issued an official statement to announce the removal of the three shadow cabinet members on grounds that they had rejected May’s ultimatum to issue a clear apology to Weaver.

The next day, Sep. 14, Ricochet published Derrick O’Keefe’s account of his interview with Lascaris to get his explanation of why May fired him.

Here is my summary of Dimitri Lascaris’ account as told to O’Keefe:

The Andrew Weaver affair & Elizabeth May’s ultimatum

On Sep. 14, shortly after The Tyee op-ed appeared, Dimitri Lascaris (DL) received May’s emailed ultimatum demanding a “clear apology” to Weaver

DL alleges that BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver took the lead in trying to gut the BDS resolution

DL strenuously rejects May’s charge that the Tyee op-ed was an attack on Weaver

DL says he only learned about his expulsion from the shadow cabinet when contacted by the Vancouver Sun asking for his reaction to the breaking news

Lascaris says that two weeks before Tyee’s op-ed, Weaver “flatly refused” his offer to chat about the BDS resolution. Moreover, he added that he interpreted Weaver’s insistence that the resolution was “discriminatory” as explicitly implying anti-Semitism

Given that DL has received about 3,000 emails about the resolution, most of which were supportive, he was disappointed the Green Party’s leadership had never acknowledged those voices of support. The op-ed piece in The Tyee gave them the voice the pro-BDS advocates were seeking

DL notes that The Tyee op-ed was done pursuant to the party’s constitutional obligation to defend party policy

DL has made it “abundantly clear” to May that as a member of the party, he “will fight tooth and nail to preserve this resolution

On Elizabeth May’s argument that the BDS resolution shouldn’t count because it was decided without consensus

DL dismisses May’s reason: “If the resolution had been defeated at the convention, the party’s leadership would not be complaining about the absence of consensus

The purpose of the Special Meeting in December, he says, is to “gut” or “water down” the resolution. It has nothing to do with the failure to follow a consensus decision-making process.

On accusations that activists joined the party solely to help pass the BDS resolution

In response to May’s charge in the Globe and Mail that “the resolution was passed because people joined the party strictly in order to ensure that this resolution passed”, Lascaris responds that the resolution was adopted because members heard all the arguments for and against, including some affirmative voices from Jewish members, and were swayed by the strength of the arguments



Elizabeth May retaliates over leaked emails, Editorial by Ricochet, September 28, 2016

Elizabeth May ordered deputies not to associate with leader of Quebec Greens by Ethan Cox, Ricochet, September 15, 2016

Elizabeth May fired critics after pressure from B.C. Greens by Derrick O’Keefe, Ricochet, September 14, 2016

Exclusive interview: Elizabeth May on why she’s staying as Green leader by Cory Collins, Ricochet, August 26, 2016

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