Green Party spokesperson criticizes potential candidate ahead of leadership race

OTTAWA — Before the Green leadership race officially begins, a party spokesperson is publicly criticizing a declared potential candidate who is also the head of the provincial Greens in Quebec.

In an email to the Star, Green spokesperson George Orr condemned comments that Quebec Green Leader Alex Tyrrell made on Thursday about a new review process the next leader is expected to undergo.

Tyrrell had said a plan to subject the next federal Green leader to a “continual” performance review by top officials inside the party was “almost sabotage” because it could lead to more of the infighting seen under former leader Annamie Paul. The party said the process was intended to create more opportunities for dialogue between the prospective leader and federal council, the Greens’ governing body.

In response to Tyrell’s comments, Orr defended the policy as a measure “crafted in the wake of recent turmoil,” based on Green members’ desire to improve communication within the party.

“Why would (Tyrrell) be so angry about this?” Orr asked. “Just harsh words by somebody spoiling for a fight who hasn’t bothered to pay attention.”

Contacted Friday, Tyrrell said he was offended by Orr’s suggestion he isn’t tuned into the party and disappointed that an official would publicly criticize him before the upcoming leadership race.

“I find it highly unfortunate that an official party spokesperson like George Orr is going out of his way to attack a potential leadership candidate before the race has even started,” he said.

“If the party was listening to its members they wouldn’t be attacking them through the news.”

Reacting to Tyrell’s comments, Orr said “the membership defined these parameters and I am just reminding him of that. I can’t help it if he sees a direct response as an attack.”

Tyrrell, an avowed “eco-socialist” from the left flank of the party, is one of at least eight Greens who are considering a run for the federal leadership. The party plans to announce all accepted candidates on Aug. 31, and will declare the next leader on Nov. 19.

Raisa Patel is an Ottawa-based reporter covering federal politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @R_SPatel


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