The Green Party of Canada has chosen a multilingual Toronto lawyer as its new leader over a more radical candidate from Quebec.
Annamie Paul captured 50.63 percent of the support on the final ballot, beating Montreal lawyer Dimitri Lascaris, who ended up with 42.22 percent.
Paul, the daughter of Caribbean immigrants, has a law degree from the University of Ottawa and a master's degree in public affairs from Princeton University. She's the first Jewish and Black leader of a national political party and she speaks English, French, Spanish, and Catalan.
An international human rights lawyer, Paul has called on Canada to withdraw from the Safe Third Country Agreeement with the United States. This pact enables Canada to turn back asylum seekers from that country.
In addition, Paul favours a national ban on fracking and protecting 50 percent of Canada's natural landscapes by 2050.
Paul received endorsements from B.C. Green Leader Sonia Furstenau, Juno-winning musicians Tegan and Sara, and actor R.H. Thomson.
Former Green leader Elizabeth May did not formally endorse Paul, but she supported fundraising efforts of equity-seeking candidates, including Paul. In addition, May joined Paul during the campaign for a virtual cross-country conversation.
In May, Paul explained to The Agenda host Steve Paikin that her given name, Annamie, is Patois in origin and means "a friend". She plans on running in an upcoming by-election in Toronto Centre.
In 2019, Paul came fourth in the riding, losing to Bill Morneau, who has since resigned as finance minister and MP.
Lascaris took aim at Doctrine of Discovery
The second-place finisher in the Green party leadership race, Lascaris, was endorsed by several outspoken critics of Israel, including Pink Floyd cofounder Roger Waters and Vancouver rabbi David Mivasair.
This came after Lascaris called for political, military, and economic sanctions on Israel for "its illegal occoupation and settlement". He also demanded that Canada cancel an arms deal with Saudi Arabia and the resumption of diplomatic relations with Iran.
Others on the left who backed Lascaris's candidacy included international antinuclear advocate Helen Caldicott, former Bowen Island mayor Lisa Barrett, and former CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan.
In the spring, a party vetting committee tried to prevent Lascaris from running, but that decision was overturned on appeal.
In one of his policy papers, Lascaris declared that the Doctrine of Discovery, under which land could be seized from Indigenous peoples, "lies at the heart of our troubled relationship" with First Nations people.
Lascaris described it as "destructive fiction".
"The core reality that must be understood is that the capitalist, racist, colonial and extractive paradigm that drives our economic system and perpetuates violence against Indigenous peoples is leading to the extinction of diversity in its myriad forms—cultural, political, biological and social," he wrote on his website. "The causes of injustice towards Indigenous peoples are at the root of the current climate crisis. We believe that a transformative decolonial paradigm shift is the only sound way forward."
Over Twitter, Lascaris extended his congratulations to Paul.
"I wish Annamie every success as the Green Party of Canada builds upon the foundation created under @ElizabethMay's leadership."
The third-place finisher was Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment president Courtney Howard.
In order of votes received, the other candidates were former Ontario environment minister Glen Murray, former Liberal Party of Canada president in B.C. David Merner, astrophysicist Amita Kuttner, lawyer Meryam Haddad, and lawyer Andrew West.