A supporter holds a sign for the Green Party of Canada in Toronto, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. More than 35,000 people are eligible to cast a vote in next month’s Green party leadership race. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Green party leadership race nearly doubles party membership numbers

Party officials say the Greens added 15,000 new people to their membership list during the campaign

More than 35,000 people are eligible to cast votes in next month’s Green party leadership race.

That would absolutely smash the turnout in the last Green leadership race 14 years ago, when fewer than 3,300 people cast ballots in the contest that put Elizabeth May at the party’s helm.

Party officials say the Greens added 15,000 new people to their membership list during the campaign.

The deadline to become a voting member was Sept. 3.

Only 260 people asked for mail-in ballots, leaving almost all members to cast online votes starting Sept. 26.

The winner is to be announced at a small Ottawa event Oct. 3, involving mainly the party’s three MPs, its national council and the eight candidates.

Plans to have a bigger leadership convention in Prince Edward Island were foiled by COVID-19.

Toronto-based international affairs expert Annamie Paul and Montreal lawyer Dimitri Lascaris are the front runners in the money side of the game.

Paul was closing in on $200,000 in donations by the end of August, almost one-third of the total amount raised by all the candidates in the race. Lascaris showed significant momentum that same month, nearly doubling his total donations to more than $112,000.

Paul also leads in total number of donors, with more than 1,600, compared to 958 for Lascaris. All of the remaining candidates had fewer than 410 donors each.

Emergency doctor Courtney Howard, former Ontario Liberal environment minister Glen Murray, astrophysicist Amita Kuttner, and lawyers David Merner, Meryam Haddad and Andrew West round out the list of candidates.

The party is electing its first new leader since 2006 to succeed Elizabeth May, who stepped down last fall after leading the party to its best finish ever with three seats in the House of Commons.

May remains an MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands in B.C. and the party’s parliamentary leader, a role she is likely to maintain after the new leader is chosen because none of the eight contenders are currently MPs.

The Canadian Press

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