Green Party condemns racist attacks during leadership contest town hall

OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada strongly condemns racist, sexist and anti-Semitic attacks against two leadership contestants during an online town hall conducted on Zoom last night. The vile language appeared briefly in the public chat space before moderators ejected the perpetrators from the event and deleted their hateful comments. 

“This is absolutely unacceptable,” tweeted Green Party Executive Director Prateek Awasthi last night after the debate, “We have launched an investigation, and if they are members, we will expel them immediately.” The Green Party has since confirmed that the perpetrators’ contact information does not match with any member listed in the GPC databases, and is reporting this incident as a hate crime to the Ottawa Police and the RCMP.

Green Party Interim Leader Jo-Ann Roberts also condemned the attacks on Twitter yesterday evening, stating: “In our Prairies townhall tonight, 2 of our leadership contestants were subject to abhorrent racist & anti-Semitic attacks from participants. Those behind the attacks were not GPC members, and never will be.”

Several other leadership contestants took to social media to condemn the attacks and stand in solidarity with their fellow contestants. 

Today, Ms. Roberts again expressed outrage and dismay at the attacks. “We are all horrified by what’s been happening,” said Ms. Roberts. “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic we have all been forced to navigate a new virtual reality for conducting meetings and our leadership contest debates. Unfortunately this leaves us vulnerable to such hateful attacks.

“We are taking added precautions to avoid any recurrence. During the remainder of the leadership contest, we will be disabling the public chat feature on Zoom. We must strive to keep online spaces a safe place for discussion and dialogue. We must work together to call out discrimination in all its forms. We sincerely apologise to everyone who was impacted by this horrible event.”

“We are proud to host the most diverse leadership race in Canadian history, and unfortunately, many of our contestants have faced hatred due to their identities,” said Mr. Awasthi. “The Green Party has made a bold commitment to anti-discrimination, and we will always stand in solidarity against hatred and bigotry.” 

Nine contestants are running to be the new Green Party leader. The party will announce its new leader in October. Voting will take place from September 26 to October 3, online and by mail-in ballot. All Green Party of Canada members aged 14 and over are eligible to vote. Non-members must sign up by September 3 to take part in the ballot.

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