Amita Kuttner, the newly named interim leader of the Green Party of Canada, says their job is to heal the party after months of infighting and strife.
Kuttner, 30, who identifies as nonbinary and transgender, says they want to bring an end to internal squabbles and get the party “back on track” during their time in the role before the Greens choose their next leader.
The astrophysicist from Vancouver says that with flooding and climate change devastating the country, this is the “exact moment” when the Green Party’s policies are most needed.
Public support for the Greens plummeted in the Sept. 20 election and then Annamie Paul quit as leader, describing her time in the job as the worst period in her life.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Kuttner says they have been the target of transphobia within the party and finds some internal party politics to have been “very nasty.”
They said the solution is not to kick people out of the party, but to teach them to appreciate other people’s experiences and points of view.
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Former Green Party leader Elizabeth May said Kuttner’s appointment is “definitely a positive development.”
“They’re just a really extraordinary human being, and I love working with them. I love them,” May said.
“And of course, the groundbreaking aspects of being a racialized young person who is non-binary, who is a genius scientist — You don’t run across people like Amita every day.”
According to the Green Party’s constitution, a leadership contest must start within six months of the appointment of an interim leader.
May says she hopes the process will “reflect that reality of our values.”
“The job is to be the chief spokesperson, and our membership decides the policies,” May said.
The party has “a lot of rebuilding to do,” May added, after “the last disastrous period.”
“I feel so happy because I know that, the minute the interim leader is appointed, I feel like, OK, this is turning the page,” May said.
“Canadians can see the face of people in the Green Party, of people who are positive and committed and rebuilding, and that’s what we really, really desperately needed.”
— With files from Global News’ Rachel Gilmore
© 2021 The Canadian Press