Citizen Action Monitor

Canada’s avowedly capitalist “Green” Party, elects lawyer Annamie Paul, a black, Jewish woman, as new leader

“During the leadership campaign, Paul equivocated on most political issues, pointing to ‘party policy’ when pressed…” —

No 2670 Posted by fw, October 13, 2020 —

“After a year-long leadership contest, the Green Party of Canada narrowly elected a new leader on Oct. 3, Annamie Paul, a lawyer and former bureaucrat with Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. … The Greens are Canada’s fifth federal political party, having won three of the 338 House of Commons seats and a 6.5 percent vote-share in the 2019 election. In line with other Green parties globally, Canada’s Green party is an avowedly capitalist party, based on privileged sections of the upper-middle class. It is neither oriented to nor claims to represent the working class, and has traditionally portrayed itself as ‘neither left, nor right wing.’ … the rise to prominence of yet another capitalist politician, claiming ‘progressive’ political credentials, and trading on their personal identity, is by now unremarkable. Paul’s condemnation of her runner-up, [Dimitri] Lascaris, as an ‘anti-Semite,’ for his opposition to Zionism and advocacy of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), is also by now a commonplace of bourgeois politics, though it is no less vile for being common. Such smears are the currency of capitalist politics.”James Clayton, Keith Jones, World Socialist Web Site (WSWS)

Journalists Clayton and Jones also noted that “Paul’s other main political action since becoming leader has been to demand that the NDP candidate in the upcoming Toronto Centre by-election stand down, so as not to prevent her becoming the ‘first black woman leader’ to sit in Parliament. More such self-serving, identity-laced appeals are to be expected.”

Below is my heavily abridged repost of the WSWS article, featuring my added subheadings and highlighted text. Alternatively, to read the full article, click on the following linked title.

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The Green Party of Canada chooses a new leader — multiple political frauds for the price of one by James Clayton, Keith Jones, World Socialist Web Site, October 11. 2020

Election of black, Jewish woman, former bureaucrat to head federal Green Party “an historic first”

After a year-long leadership contest, the Green Party of Canada narrowly elected a new leader on Oct. 3, Annamie Paul, a lawyer and former bureaucrat with Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Paul’s victory over the “eco-socialist,” Palestinian-rights activist, and one-time Wall Street lawyer Dimitri Lascaris was quietly celebrated by the capitalist press. Echoing Paul, it [capitalist press] proclaimed the election of a black, Jewish woman to head a federal party “an historic first.”

“Canada’s Green party is an avowedly capitalist party, based on privileged sections of the upper-middle class”

The Greens are Canada’s fifth federal political party, having won three of the 338 House of Commons seats and a 6.5 percent vote-share in the 2019 election. In line with other Green parties globally, Canada’s Green party is an avowedly capitalist party, based on privileged sections of the upper-middle class. It is neither oriented to nor claims to represent the working class, and has traditionally portrayed itself as “neither left, nor right wing.”

Annamie Paul with Green Party of Canada supporters. Credit: Wikimedia

Former Green leader, Elizabeth May, is noted for her close ties to the big-business Liberals

Paul was the choice of Elizabeth May, the Greens’ leader for the past 14 years, and the rest of the party establishment. May, who remains the party’s House leader, is notable for her longstanding close ties to the big business Liberal Party, which she and the Greens invariably promote as fellow “progressives,” including under the current Justin Trudeau-led Liberal government.

During the leadership campaign, Paul sidestepped most political issues

During the leadership campaign, Paul equivocated on most political issues, pointing to “party policy” when pressed, and emphasizing instead the politics of identity.

Paul labelled runner-up Dimitri Lascaris an anti-Semite for his opposition to Zionism and BDS support

The media hype notwithstanding, the rise to prominence of yet another capitalist politician, claiming “progressive” political credentials, and trading on their personal identity, is by now unremarkable. Paul’s condemnation of her runner-up, Lascaris, as an “anti-Semite,” for his opposition to Zionism and advocacy of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), is also by now a commonplace of bourgeois politics, though it is no less vile for being common. Such smears are the currency of capitalist politics.

Her type of political operative would be at home in any traditional “centrist” bourgeois party. Indeed, Paul issued a tweet last week in which she gushed over the political legacy of the recently deceased “remarkable public servant” Liberal Prime Minister John Turner. It concluded, “May his memory be a blessing.”

On the Liberal’s Throne Speech, Paul displayed mastery in the art of “political posturing” to promote Party’s own brand of progressive politics for public consumption

Last Tuesday, Paul had what she called a “productive conversation” with Prime Minister Trudeau, in which, according to the new Green Party leader, both stressed the “need for all-party collaboration.” In subsequent comments, Paul lavished praise on the government’s Throne Speech, but announced that “unfortunately” the Greens would not vote for it in parliament later that evening, because of its failure to provide a plan to protect long-term care residents from COVID-19.

This is typical of the posturing that is the stock-and-trade of parliamentary politics. Paul knew full well that the New Democratic Party (NDP), with strong backing from the Canadian Labour Congress, Unifor and other unions, had already pledged to vote for the Throne Speech. With the survival of the Liberal government assured, Paul calculated the Greens had an opening to promote their own brand of “progressive” politics and court working people disenchanted with the NDP’s right-wing establishment politics by casting a “No” vote whose practical political consequences would be nil.

Paul’s self-serving demand to be recognized as the “first black woman leader” to sit in Parliament

Paul’s other main political action since becoming leader has been to demand that the NDP candidate in the upcoming Toronto Centre by-election stand down, so as not to prevent her becoming the “first black woman leader” to sit in Parliament. More such self-serving, identity-laced appeals are to be expected.

The Green Party’s right-wing record

As with the BC Greens, Paul will gladly trade a seat in the Commons for support of “vicious anti-worker, pro-war policies”

In exchange for a place at the table, the Greens … will prove more than willing to enforce vicious anti-worker, pro-war policies. The BC Greens have supported the provincial NDP government’s reckless back-to-work and back-to-school drive, which has now produced a second wave of COVID-19 in the province, with new cases escalating by more than 150 per day. The new leader of the BC Greens, Sonia Furstenau, has declared that another NDP minority government with Green support would be “good for BC.” After flirting with the idea of keeping the Christy Clark-led Liberals in power, the Greens for the past three years have propped up John Horgan’s NDP government as it enforced budgets modelled on the austerity framework laid down by their right-wing Liberal predecessors.

The federal Greens have repeatedly served Liberal Party interests

The federal Greens have repeatedly provided their services to the Liberals, including by promoting the pro-Trudeau “Anyone But Harper” campaign in 2015. The Greens voted for Trudeau’s Bill C-59, which provides a “democratic” fig leaf for previously adopted Conservative legislation (Bill C-51) that vastly increased the powers of the national security apparatus, including by giving CSIS the power to break virtually any law in “disrupting” vaguely defined “threats” to national security. During last year’s federal election campaign, the Greens signalled their support for the Liberals’ 10-year, more than 70 percent military spending hike. Their election platform claimed that due to the “precarious” global security situation, Canada requires a “general purpose, combat-capable” Canadian Armed Forces with “stable” funding.

And May has stated that the Greens would even be willing to work with the Conservatives

Former leader Elizabeth May has stated that the Greens would be willing to work with the Conservatives “if they were serious about climate change.” In other words, the Tories need only to frame attacks on the working class in environmental terms to receive Green Party support. When May stated in the 2015 leadership debate, “We want to go to work for you in a more collaborative Parliament …We believe in a Canada that works together for all of us,” she reasserted the basic myth of Canadian nationalist ideology that the federal state serves the interests of society, not those of Canada’s imperialist capitalist rulers. Lascaris’ bluster about establishing “sufficiently resourced” capitalist state “regulators” to check “corporate power” underscores that the Greens’ “left”-talking “eco-socialist” is at one with the pro-Trudeau “moderate” May on this fundamental point.

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This entry was posted on October 13, 2020 by in information counterpower, political action and tagged , , .
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