Green MPs not required to cleave to party line

Re: “Greens’ May is in a tough spot,” editorial, July 2.

I appreciate the nuanced and sympathetic tone to your editorial. I am honoured to be the leader of a party that does not allow “top-down” policies or direction. In other words, Greens do not want a leader who acts as boss or dictator.

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Fortunately, we are also a party that does not insist that its MPs cleave to the party line. I am free to express my own opinion, even as I explain how party policy differs.

In the case of the two resolutions relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict headed for debate at our party convention in August, I am honestly torn.

I, along with all Greens, denounce anti-Semitism in all its forms. I support unequivocally the right of the state of Israel to exist. I also have deep sympathies with the plight of the Palestinian people, and I find the illegal expansion of settlements on the West Bank deeply concerning.

As a past donor to the Jewish National Fund, I am troubled by the JNF support for Canada Park on the site of villages emptied and bulldozed in 1967.

While no doubt JNF supports many worthy charitable endeavours, I am in a respectful discussion with the organization about policies of exclusion.

Navigating grassroots resolutions is difficult, but I am grateful for the openness of the Green Party to discuss these issues. I remain very concerned with protecting the right to free speech.

Decisions taken by any state or government, including the state of Israel, must be subjected to legitimate criticism and discussion in an open and democratic society.

Elizabeth E. May, MP

Saanich-Gulf Islands

Leader, Green Party of Canada

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