Statement on ensuring the Green Party of Canada is welcoming to everyone

VANCOUVER, B.C – On Saturday, September 3rd, at a public media event kicking off the Green Party of Canada’s leadership contest the wrong pronouns were presented beside my name in a way that I could not change myself. I acknowledge that mistakes can happen and the need to learn from them. What happened here impacted me much more than a slip of the tongue. It made me feel hurt and isolated at a moment that should have been filled with inspiration and anticipation. 

I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support and solidarity. Federal Council President Lorraine Rekmans’ heartfelt public apology was particularly touching. To be clear – Lorraine apologized not because she misgendered me but as a representative of the Party. She did not misgender me at this event and to my knowledge has never misgendered me. 

I also want to thank Natalie Odd, co-chair of the Leadership Contest Committee for apologizing during the event, like Lorraine, she did not misgender me. Any personal attacks against Lorraine, any member of Federal Council or Staff are not helpful and only serve to increase the harm. Healing must come from a place of solidarity, not division.

In truth, this incident is reflective of a larger pattern of behaviours that a few in the party are perpetuating. Over the years the party has documented reports which indicate a systemic issue disproportionately affecting Black, Indigenous, and racialized people and 2SLGBTQIA+ people, and I hope many more stories will be able to be shared so that this incident can be a catalyst for change.

As a political party, our inaction on these issues dissuades people from joining and participating. The party needs to be managed responsibly and every space within the party must be safe for everyone. When things like this happen, people need to see those in leadership positions take some accountability, acknowledge how they have added to this system of oppression and what they must do to break the cycle. 

Overall my experience as interim Leader has been a beautiful one, my time with the members and our elected MPs has been amazing. In moments like these I wonder – how can I ensure other people’s safety if I can’t even ensure my own? For many of us, the Green Party of Canada is also a workplace, and the Leader does not occupy the top of the power structure as in other parties. I will do everything I can in this moment to ensure the next leader does not inherit this situation.

Federal Council has been supportive on this matter so I hope the necessary action will be identified and I look forward to working with them to solve this quickly.

Amita Kuttner, Interim Leader

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For more information or to arrange an interview:

Crystal Rosas
media@amitakuttner.com
(613) 614-4916