Canada election: Green Party Leader Annamie Paul loses bid to become MP for Toronto Centre

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul has lost her bid in the 2021 federal election to become the next member of Parliament for the riding of Toronto Centre.

Global News is projecting that incumbent Liberal Marci Ien will win the riding. With 33 of 137 polls reporting, Ien had 48.7 per cent of the votes. Paul, meanwhile, had just eight per cent of the votes and was in a very distant fourth place.

“Clearly, I am disappointed,” Paul said early Tuesday morning following her election loss. “It is hard to lose. No one likes to lose.”

Read more: Live Canada election results 2021: Real-time results in the federal election

Paul’s defeat is a significant blow for the Green Party, which hasn’t had its leader in the House of Commons since long-time party leader Elizabeth May stepped away from the role several months before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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May, who won her seat in the B.C. riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, said she’s “never seen the party so unprepared for an election,” referring to the fact that the Green Party didn’t run candidates in dozens of ridings across the country.

Click to play video: 'Canada election: Former leader Elizabeth May on future of the Green Party' Canada election: Former leader Elizabeth May on future of the Green Party

Canada election: Former leader Elizabeth May on future of the Green Party

The Green Party has also struggled with internal turmoil and strife over the past year, with senior party executives challenging Paul’s leadership and orchestrating attempts to remove her from her position.

Read more: Watch Live: 2021 Canadian election coverage

Paul responded to these efforts by saying the tactics and words used by some party members were “sexist” and “racist.”

Click to play video: 'Annamie Paul slams bid to have her ousted as Green Party leader' Annamie Paul slams bid to have her ousted as Green Party leader

Annamie Paul slams bid to have her ousted as Green Party leader – Jun 16, 2021

Paul is the only woman to lead a major national political party in Canada. She’s also the only Black or Jewish person to lead a federal political party. Other than May, it had been 18 years since another woman party leader participated in a televised leaders’ debate.

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“I’ve had to crawl over a lot of broken glass to get here,” Paul said during the English-language leaders debate on Sept. 9.

In the final days of the election campaign, Paul said that she worked tirelessly to become the leader of the Green Party and that she has pushed forward progressive policies on climate change, gender equality, financial reform and housing.

Read more: Canada election: Long lines reported at some Toronto polling stations

The Green Party’s election climate platform had the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target of all the major political parties, aiming to reduce emissions by 60 per cent compared to 2005 levels by 2030. This is the level many environmentalists say Canada must reach in order to do its “fair share” of limiting global temperature gains to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The riding of Toronto Centre was won first won by Ien in October 2020 during a byelection, which followed the resignation of former Liberal finance minister Bill Morneau in August 2020.

Read more: Trudeau did not break federal ethics rules in WE Charity scandal — but Morneau did: report

In May 2021, federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion issued a decision that said Morneau breached the Conflict of Interest Act when he failed to recuse himself from deliberations surrounding the government’s planned COVID-19 student volunteer grant program.

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Dion found that Morneau violated conflict of interest provisions on three specific aspects and that those findings were linked to the fact that Morneau’s relationship with WE Charity co-founder Craig Kielberger meets the definition of a “friend” under the rules.

WE Charity received a federal contract to administer the student grant program worth approximately $900 million.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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