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Refreshing Diversity on Parliament Hill: Annamie Paul

By: Emily Thom

In a crowded seven candidate race for the Green Party of Canada’s leadership, Annamie Paul won by a 2000 vote margin on Saturday, October 3. Paul succeeds Elizabeth May’s fourteen-year term as a federal Green Party leader. She took the victory in the eighth round of voting over prominent Montreal lawyer, Dimitri Lascaris, and Glen Murray, a former Ontario Liberal cabinet member. The 47-year-old human rights lawyer based in Toronto is determined to confront Canada’s most pressing issues: COVID-19 and the raging climate crisis.

Annamie Paul boasts an impressive resumé, holding a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ottawa and a Masters of Public Affairs from Princeton. In addition, Paul has extensive experience working in international affairs and with NGOs, namely the Recruitment of Policy Leaders, The Hague’s International Criminal Court, BIPP HUB, and the Climate Infrastructure Partnership. Annamie Paul made her debut in partisan politics in 2019, unsuccessfully running as a Green candidate against incumbent Bill Morneau in the riding of Toronto Center. Paul will once again run in Toronto Center’s by-election on October 26, 2020. This by-election is crucial to the Green Party’s future given its new leader does not yet hold a seat in the House of Commons.

Beneath her lengthy list of accomplishments, Annamie Paul’s life recounts the resilience of first-generation Canadians. Born to Caribbean immigrants, Paul is the first Black female leader of a major party, and only the second person of colour after NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. The Monday following her victory, Paul spoke to reporters about the symbolic nature of her victory: “What I bring is hope to all the people who have not seen themselves represented in politics to this point”. Ms. Paul was first exposed to public policy as a young girl when her mother brought her to union rallies, teaching her about the power of collective action. Annamie Paul’s mother came to Canada as a teacher in the 1960s but was forced to work as a live-in domestic servant while redoing her credentials to teach at the elementary level.

Annamie Paul has recently been hailed a triple threat as a Black Jewish woman. Paul also speaks four languages: English, French, Spanish, and Catalan. Moreover, she is a mother of two boys. Paul denounced the anti-Semitism within her own party during the leadership race. She has been the target of racist slurs in the past during her university education and more recently in her campaign. Nevertheless, Ms. Paul’s unique background fosters inclusive policies, such as improving healthcare, tackling the climate emergency via international collaboration, as well as including Indigenous people and people of colour in the policymaking process. All things considered, Annamie Paul is undoubtedly a source of inspiration and a symbol of diversity in Canadian politics.

*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.


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