Annamie Paul's Greens still nearly 100 candidates short for full election roster: sources

As Canadians prepare to hit the polls – the Green party will have to overcome several hurdles to come out ahead. The most important one – finding their leader a seat in Parliament. Frazer Snowdon has more.

The Green party will be nearly 100 candidates short of a full slate in this month’s federal election, the latest blow to leader Annamie Paul‘s attempts to reshape the party.

The candidate tally currently stands at about 240, but might notch up slightly as disputes with Elections Canada over signature disqualifications are settled, according to three senior party sources who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

“We expect that we are going to fall short of a full slate of candidates. By how much we’re still determining,” Paul told reporters Wednesday.

READ MORE: Green Party faces challenges heading into fall election

The Greens had banked on furnishing a full roster of 338 candidates, preparing a strategy last December to make that goal a reality.

The sources said a lack of resources from party executives to send staff across the country and collect local nomination signatures frustrated the effort.

Paul said turmoil within the party as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and the search for a more diverse array of candidates threw up hurdles to a swift nomination process across Canada.

“We had enough candidates step forward for a full slate, and then we ran into challenges in terms of collecting signatures in all the ridings, particularly remote ridings or ridings where we’re dependent upon seniors who volunteer with us who are very nervous in provinces like Alberta and out west where COVID numbers are spiking,” Paul said.

“It’s no secret that we’ve had our own distractions internally, which certainly made it more difficult for us to get to that full slate.

`We also took a little more time getting off the ground with our nominations in order to make sure that we were more diverse and inclusive,” she said.

The deadline for submitting nomination papers to Elections Canada was Monday.

Paul, who staved off an ouster attempt by party brass over the summer, is running in the Liberal stronghold of Toronto Centre, where she is spending the nearly entire campaign after having lost twice in the riding in the past two years.

More than four in five Ontario ridings will include a would-be Green MP, but Quebec will see barely 50 nominees run for the province’s 78 seats, sources said.

Under financial strain, the party saw layoffs in the past few months that slashed the Greens’ mobilizing team and organizational capacity, though several axed staff members have come back on board since the election was called for Sept. 20.

Party executives _ several of them no longer on board the federal council, the Greens’ main governing body, following an internal election _ also aimed to dethrone Paul in a non-confidence vote and a membership suspension. Both were halted by an independent arbitrator.

“The energy that was placed in areas that weren’t related to election preparedness certainly drew some of our time away,” Paul said.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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