Greens boost second-quarter fundraising amid party turmoil

·3 min read

OTTAWA — The federal Green party increased its year-over-year fundraising figures nine per cent last quarter, just as internal strife was spilling into public view.

The Greens raked in $682,020 from 8,372 donorsin the second quarter of 2021 compared with roughly $626,637 from 9,352 contributors in the same period a year earlier, according to Elections Canada filings.

The numbers present a different picture than the one cast in an email to members from Green president Liana Canton Cusmano last month saying the party has seen "reduced donations" under leader Annamie Paul.

However, the number of donors did go down by 10 per cent.

Paul, who was elected to the role in October, also oversaw a fundraising bump of 17 per cent in the first quarter compared to the first three months of 2020.

Most federal parties saw a drop in fundraising last year as the pandemic dented donations of all kinds and made parties rethink some of their traditional fundraising tools.

The Greens pulled in less in the latest quarter than in the same period in 2019, an election year, but more than in the second quarter of each of the three years before that.

The fresh figures mark a small bright spot for Paul, who continues to struggle against a coterie of party executives who launched a legal proceeding against her this week in an ongoing effort to oust her ahead of a likely federal election.

Late Thursday, Cusmano sent an email to party members obtained by The Canadian Press that said it was Paul who set off the legal wrangling. She did this, the president said, by launching an arbitration process that shut down a planned non-confidence vote against her by the Greens' federal council — their main governing body — and halted a process to suspend her membership.

"These proceedings, as initiated by Ms. Paul, were meant to be conducted in private without the full view of members. Why the secrecy?" Cusmano asked.

Party executives aim to expose the matter through the courts, Cusmano said, adding that "transparency and truthfulness has been lacking" in the arbitration — a private form of dispute resolution.

Paul said Thursday that the legal challenge, which she characterized as the latest move in a "one-sided attack" by a handful of outgoing federal councillors, related to "internal party matters."

"I’m not going to discuss things that are not supposed to be in the public domain," she said at her campaign office ribbon cutting in downtown Toronto.

The submissions in Ontario Superior Court on Wednesday ended a brief ceasefire between Paul and party brass, though Paul took issue with any depiction of "infighting" and said a few councillors whose terms will expire in under a month are behind the court manoeuvre.

Paul, who has no seat in the House of Commons, needs all the funds she can get to win in the riding of Toronto Centre, a bastion of Grit support.

She lost there to Liberal Marci Ien in an October byelection — they received about 33 per cent and 42 per cent of the vote respectively — and to then-finance minister Bill Morneau in 2019.

The federal council has also opted to withhold some $250,000 in funding that had been earmarked for Paul's campaign, according to several senior party sources who were not authorized to speak on the matter.

The Bloc Québécois, the only other party whose second-quarter results have been posted, raised $311,923 from 2,300 donors, compared to $131,883 from 941 donors a year earlier.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2021.

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

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