Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)

B.C.’s Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jennica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

Canada’s two remaining Green Party MPs say they have no intention of leaving the Green Party of Canada despite the “heartbreaking” defection of MP Jenica Atwin.

The Green Party of Canada Caucus, which now consists of Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly and former party leader, Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May released a very brief statement in reaction to the news Atwin has left the Green party to join the Liberal caucus mainly because of ongoing internal rifts among the Greens over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

RELATED: New Brunswick MP Jenica Atwin set to cross floor from Greens to Liberals

“Unfortunately, the attack against Ms. Atwin by the Green Party leader’s chief spokesperson on May 14th created the conditions that led to this crisis,” the statement said. “We (Paul Manly MP, Elizabeth May MP) have no intention of leaving the Green Party of Canada.”

Neither was immediately available for comment.

Atwin announced her decision Thursday.

“It’s been really difficult to focus on the work that needs to be done on behalf of my constituents,” she told a news conference in her Fredericton riding. “It certainly has played a role.”

Atwin made history in the October 2019 general election when she became the first Green MP to be elected east of British Columbia. But last month, she openly challenged Green Leader Annamie Paul’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On May 11, Atwin posted a message on Twitter saying a statement from Paul calling for de-escalation of the conflict was “totally inadequate.”

“I stand with Palestine and condemn the unthinkable airstrikes in Gaza. End Apartheid!” Atwin wrote.

Three days later, Paul’s senior adviser, Noah Zatzman, expressed solidarity with “Zionists” in a Facebook post that accused some unnamed Green MPs of antisemitism and discrimination. Paul had attempted to remain above the fray, saying party debate is healthy.

On Thursday, federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, also a New Brunswick MP, introduced Atwin as the newest member of the Liberal caucus. In her opening statement, Atwin said she had “been at a crossroads” for the past month.

“It’s been, in a word, distracting,” she said. “So I’m going where I can do my best work.”

The new Liberal said she had not been promised any particular role with the Liberals in exchange for crossing the floor. “We haven’t discussed anything like that,” said Atwin, a mother of two and a teacher who helped run an Indigenous education centre before entering politics.

The Greens’ stance on environmental and social policy often aligns more closely with New Democrat positions, but the NDP electoral prospects in Atwin’s riding of Fredericton appear bleak. The party won less than six per cent of the vote there in 2019.

Atwin’s aisle-crossing is a small win for a Liberal party looking to tout its environmental credentials and shore up the ranks of its minority government. But the change deals a much bigger blow to a Green caucus already struggling to stay afloat.

David Coon, leader of the New Brunswick Greens, said he knew Atwin felt abandoned by Paul.

“I am profoundly disappointed that she decided her only option was to cross the floor, after the voters of Fredericton and Oromocto had elected her as a Green, to be the kind of strong and independent voice in Ottawa that the Green party encourages,” he said in a statement. “She will discover that her principles will not find a home with the Liberals.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a brief statement Thursday noting Atwin’s “tireless and effective advocacy on priorities like climate action, mental health, reconciliation, and making life more affordable for families.”

When asked about her previous criticism of the Liberals over electoral reform and climate change, Atwin said: “If you looked at my voting record, my comments in the House of Commons, everything that I’ve said and done still stands …. To the voters, I would say, ‘I’m still me.’ “

LeBlanc said the Liberal party welcomes divergent opinions, even when it comes to Israel. “In the Liberal caucus, there is enormous room … for differences of opinion,” he said. “Our caucus discussions will be that much richer.”

— with a file from Cole Schisler

Just Posted

(Pixabay.com photo)
No COVID-19 baby boom in Summerland

Pandemic has not resulted in surge in births in 2020 and 2021

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

People at the beach in front of Discovery Bay Resort on Tuesday, July 14. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Heat wave forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Temperatures are forecast to hit record breaking highs this week

Tony Costa/ Facebook
UPDATE: Out-of-control fire burning above Peachland

The blaze sparked on Sunday and is believed to be lightning caused

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

Most Read