Canada Citing distractions, New Brunswick Green MP Jenica Atwin crosses floor to Liberals
Green MP Jenica Atwin crossing the floor to join the Liberals
Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin is poised to bolt from the Green party caucus today and cross the floor to join the governing Liberals.Atwin is expected to make the announcement at a news conference in Fredericton later today, with Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc by her side.
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick MP Jenica Atwin says she is leaving the Green party to join the Liberal caucus mainly because of ongoing internal rifts among the Greens concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Rex Murphy: The shocking decimation of the federal Greens
The tectonic plates of Canadian politics rumbled and roared on Thursday. In the greatest one-day erosion of a parliamentary caucus, the Green Party of Canada lost 33.33 per cent of its parliamentary wing. It was epochal. To put it in ecological terms, if the Antarctic ice sheet melted with the same speed and volume as the Green party shed its MPs, the penguins would have to start building high-rises. Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin — whose election as a Green in 2019 was marked as an “historic occasion,” as she was the first Green to win a seat outside British Columbia — abandoned the party on Thursday and hitched her solar-powered wagon to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Libera
"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 Thursday. "It certainly has played a role."
The defection leaves the Green party with just two lawmakers in the House of Commons.
Last month, Atwin openly challenged Green Leader Annamie Paul’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Green party rift over Israeli-Palestinian conflict grows as MPs break from leader
OTTAWA — The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has exposed a fault line in the Green party, threatening political unity as lawmakers break from their leader and rank-and-file members clash with party staff. The dust-up kicked off after Green MP Jenica Atwin said in a Twitter post May 11 that a statement from Leader Annamie Paul, which called for de-escalation and a return to dialogue, was "totally inadequate" and that Atwin stands with Palestine in demanding an end to "apartheid.
On May 11, Atwin posted a message on Twitter saying a statement from Paul calling for de-escalation of the conflict was "totally inadequate." Atwin went on to say she stands with Palestine in demanding an end to "apartheid."
Video: Jenica Atwin leaves Green Party to become new Liberal MP in New Brunswick (cbc.ca)
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.
After Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, a New Brunswick MP, introduced her as the newest member of the Liberal caucus, Atwin said she has "been at a crossroads" for the past month.
Fallout from Greens' feud continues as party opts not to renew top adviser's contract
OTTAWA — The fallout from internal feuds in the Green party continues amid accusations of intolerance and strong-arm tactics against some members. Two Green party sources, who spoke to The Canadian Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters, confirmed that the executive committee voted Friday not to renew the contract of a senior adviser to Leader Annamie Paul when it expires next month. The adviser, Noah Zatzman, had expressed solidarity with Israel in a May 14 social media post that accused many politicians, including unspecified Green MPs, of discrimination and antisemitism, sparking a letter-writing campaign calling for his removal.
"It's been, in a word, distracting," she said. "So I'm going where I can do my best work."
The Greens' stance on environmental and social policy often aligns more closely with New Democrat positions, but NDP prospects in Atwin's riding of Fredericton appear vanishingly small after that party won less than six per cent of the vote in 2019.
Atwin's aisle crossing marks 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 marks a much bigger blow for a Green caucus already struggling to stay afloat.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2021.
The Canadian Press
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