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

Chemainus Indigenous Peoples Weekend organizer Connie Crocker. (Photo submitted)
Chemainus Indigenous Peoples Weekend online June 19-21

Event’s been in the planning stages since February without knowing COVID implications

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Julie Nygaard’s By Moonlight Raven Flight is one of the photo-artist works in her show Through My Eyes – A Visual Journey, which will be featured at Rainforest Arts through August. (Photo submitted)
Photographer-painter Nygaard featured at Rainforest Arts

Real images enhanced through digital means to create compelling art

Filming of The Baker’s Son in Chemainus. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Bread-making brilliance and mediocrity the recipe for movie ingredients

Willow Street on the map as a prominent location in The Baker’s Son

The return of Community Policing will be a welcome addition by residents. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Return of Community Policing in the works

Volunteers being sought and coordinators to be announced soon

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Flowers and candles were laid on the driveway of the Weber home, where Kerri Weber was found dead in November 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria man to stand trial for death of his wife last November

Ken Weber is charged with second-degree murder of his wife, Kerri Weber

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts was found dead near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New residential school healing centre to be built near Duncan

$5-million Indigenous treatment centre will help survivors of residential schools heal

Most Read