Toronto Attorney Becomes First Black and Jewish Canadian Party Leader

On Saturday, Toronto attorney Annamie Paul made history by becoming head of the country's Green Party. In doing so, she became the first Black permanent leader of a major federal political party in Canada. She has also become the second Jewish person to lead a major federal political party in the country.

"We are all united by our commitment to our core Green values, and I look forward to continuing to work together to tackle the urgent issues faced by Canadians across the country. I can’t wait to see how far we can bring the party, together," Paul tweeted.

"Thank you all for your passion, dedication and heart throughout this race. Whether talking about how to improve our internal party structures or how to broaden our appeal, this race has given our members hope for the future," she added.

Paul is the daughter of Caribbean immigrants who grew up in Brampton, Ontario. As a teenager, she got involved in politics by working as a page in the Ontario Legislature. She later earned degrees from the University of Ottawa and Princeton University. More recently, she created the 1834 Fellowship to train Black Canadian policy leaders. Leading the Green Party, she will now replace Elizabeth May.

“It is highly symbolic and highly important that I sit here today,” Paul said at a news conference.

“What I bring is hope to all the people who have not seen themselves represented in politics to this point, hope it’s possible we can have a more inclusive style of politics."

Paul's Green Party holds three of the 338 seats in the country's House of Commons. Representing one of the smaller groups in the House of Commons, Paul hopes to focus on two topics moving forward, global warming and the pandemic.

“The climate emergency is and remains the existential crisis of our times and we cannot forget about it because it has not forgotten about us,” Paul said.

The first step in Paul's new role will be to contest a special election in the parliamentary constituency of Toronto Centre. Voters will take to the polls on October 26.

Photo: Getty Images

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