It’s not that easy being (the) Green (Party)

Phrase co-opted from the world’s favourite Muppet to describe the doleful (but temporary?) downfall of Canada’s Green Party.

Originally founded in 1983 with an enviro-friendly agenda, the Party had some following but didn’t really catch fire. But then, in 2006, along came Elizabeth May, who nurtured and expanded the Party’s grassroots upwards and outwards. The Greens were no longer the party just for lovers and dreamers.

Struggling for national attention and electoral traction, May participated in countless media scrums and heated – but always respectful – discussions. Under her leadership, the Greens took on the Orange Crush in 2011, with May becoming the first elected Green Party MP in the House. A backbencher with flare, May’s unvarnished quips in the 2019 election debates – many aimed at Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer – were TV gold.

Things were looking up for the Greens following that 2019 election. They won three seats. And with MPs from BC and New Brunswick, good things were growing for the Greens across the country.

Then it all started to wilt, quickly.

May retired in 2020, with Toronto lawyer Annamie Paul taking over. Soon, a series of internal challenges caused the same grassroots that May had cultivated to smother the new leader. A mutinous MP, muted Zoom calls and duelling allegations of racism were only part of the very-public bun fight that saw the Greens turn on themselves.  The hits just kept on coming as Paul failed to secure a seat in the House of Commons in the September 2021 election, despite strong performances in the Leader Debates.

Will the Party rise again? Hard to say. After all, it’s not that easy being Green.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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