The first black woman to lead a national party in Canada said the glass ceiling she shattered then “fell on my head” as resigned from the Green Party.
“When I was elected and put in this role, I was breaking a glass ceiling. What I didn’t realise at the time is that I was breaking a glass ceiling that was going to fall on my head,” Annamie Paul, a lawyer specialising in international issues, said.
That left “a lot of shards of glass that I was going to have to crawl over ... throughout my time as a leader”, she said.
“It has been extremely painful. It has been the worst period in my life,” Paul admitted after her party was routed in national elections last week.
She became the first black woman to lead a federal party in Canada on October 3, 2020, succeeding Elizabeth May, who led the Greens for 13 years.
Paul has led the party for the past year and tried to get elected in Canada’s smallest and most densely populated constituency, Toronto Centre.
However, the 48-year-old politician finished fourth with only 8.5% of the vote.
The Greens faced difficulty even before the beginning of the electoral campaign, weakened by problems of image, unity and finance.
The party did not provide funding for Paul to hire a campaign staff or a national campaign manager.
“I just don’t have the heart for it,” Paul said, referring to going through a leadership review invoked by the party immediately after the election.
Of the discord within the party, Paul said she had never been given the opportunity to lead and “I will not be given that opportunity”.
They also suffered a crushing defeat in the September 20 general election, electing only two out of 338 members to the House of Commons.
The party, which has been relatively marginal in its 38-year history, came in sixth in the popular vote with only 2.3% of the vote, behind the right-wing People’s Party.
Despite the “tremendous struggle”, Paul said she did not have any regrets.
“I knew that we were likely not going to do well,” she said.
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