UPDATE: On Thursday, the Green Party of Canada announced Meryam Haddad has been reinstated as a leadership contestant and will be on the ballot when voting opens this weekend.
One of the Green Party leadership race’s most outspoken leftist candidates is facing expulsion from the race mere days before voting was set to begin — and is now appealing the ruling in hopes of getting back on the ballot.
Meryam Haddad, a lawyer from Montreal, was expelled from the race Tuesday for “intentionally undertaking an action that would bring the Green Party of Canada into disrepute.”
In a statement shared to Twitter Tuesday night, Haddad said this is not the first time she’s bumped up against the party establishment.
“Let me be clear, this is an attack on democracy, youth, progress and ideas that threaten the status quo,” Haddad wrote. “Help us make it loud and clear that we would not be silenced.”
WATCH: Elizabeth May resigns as Green Party leader. Story continues below.
Haddad is one of eight candidates currently vying for long-time leader Elizabeth May’s post and a chance to shape the party going forward. Several candidates, including Haddad, have called for an overhaul of the Greens to become an explicitly eco-socialist party and move left of even the NDP. The leadership race has spurred an increase of more than 50 per cent in Green Party memberships since last year’s federal election.
Online ranked-ballot voting to find a new leader is set to open this weekend with the winner announced on Oct. 3.
Haddad announced the party’s decision to remove her from the race Tuesday night, shortly following the start of a scheduled leadership debate on food security.
In a statement to HuffPost Canada Wednesday, the Green Party of Canada gave no comment on why Haddad was expelled, simply noting she can appeal the expulsion.
How we got here
Haddad’s removal follows several days of her publicly sparring with the party establishment, including May and the B.C. wing of the Greens.
On Monday, Haddad said the B.C. Greens and provincial leader Sonia Furstenau would not receive her endorsement in the upcoming provincial election unless they committed to defunding the police and creating a Land Back strategy and Green New Deal.
At the time, Haddad praised the B.C. Eco-Socialist party instead and slammed the B.C. Greens for not “keeping the NDP honest” in their role as that province’s minority government.
On Wednesday, Haddad said she was told by the party that her expulsion was due to her failure to endorse the B.C. Greens.
“I have [been] told my removal was related to my failure to endorse Sonia [Fursteneau]’s party, despite past precedent and their separate status,” she wrote on Twitter. “Like many eco-socialists, I want to see more and I hope these concerns are taken seriously in their election.”
In an email to HuffPost, a volunteer with Haddad’s campaign cited May’s endorsement of independent Jody Wilson-Raybould in last year’s federal election as past precedent for Greens supporting non-Green candidates.
“The BC Green Party is not directly affiliated with the GPC, and we do not believe that we have brought the Green Party of Canada into disrepute for staying true to our principles,” Kolby Zinger-Harris wrote. “Meryam has always been critical of the structural problems in the Party.”
By Wednesday afternoon, Haddad said she has formally appealed the expulsion.
“I have [been] told my removal was related to my failure to endorse Sonia [Fursteneau]’s party, despite past precedent and their separate status.”
“I refuse to give up hope and hope you do not either. I have seen the outpouring of support for democracy and transparency and am both grateful and inspired,” she wrote on Twitter.
“We will keep fighting, and I hope to be on the ballot shortly so that all members new and old can be heard! Solidarity.”
Elizabeth May responds
Shortly after Haddad’s critique of the B.C. party, May retweeted a reply to Haddad’s comments, accusing her of “stabbing her provincial cousins in the back.”
When asked about the retweet Wednesday, May said Haddad’s comments were not well-timed, and as far as she’s concerned, the federal party “unequivocally supports” the B.C. Greens.
“It wasn’t well-timed on the opening day of the B.C. election for someone running for federal leadership to actually make massive errors of fact in attacking provincial cousins,” she said.
But she said she has no part in determining if Haddad is expelled from the race.
“I am not on the committee that made the initial determination, I don’t know the reasons for the vetting committee making that determination,” May said.
“Our party needs to do a better job of handling issues of all kinds”
One of Haddad’s competitors has called on the party to further explain the expulsion.
“It distresses me that the party would make this decision to expel [Haddad], and yet at the same time, refuse to properly address the countless issues around discrimination, hate and abuse present in the Party,” Amita Kuttner wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
Kuttner called on the Greens to give a thorough explanation for Haddad’s expulsion.
“Our party needs to do a better job of handling issues of all kinds, and making decisions fairly, transparently, and consistently,” they wrote.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified Haddad’s age.