The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
Get our free newsletter
Sign Up
News
  |  
Rights + Justice
  |  
Politics

Interim Green Leader Steps in after a Tough Year: ‘I Want to Help’

After a breakdown like the one Amita Kuttner’s party suffered, ‘You look inward, and you figure it out.’

Andrew MacLeod 26 Nov 2021 | TheTyee.ca

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria and the author of All Together Healthy (Douglas & McIntyre, 2018). Find him on Twitter or reach him at .

Amita Kuttner no longer wants to be the permanent leader of the troubled Green Party of Canada, but this week stepped into the role on an interim basis.

“It’s been a really tough year for the party,” Kuttner said. “I care about everyone who works in the party, and I care about all the work we’re trying to do, so I want to help, and I feel like my skill set is appropriate to help.”

In 2020, Kuttner ran in the leadership race to replace Elizabeth May, coming sixth in the contest ultimately won by Annamie Paul. Following months of conflict within the party and a dismal result in the September election, Paul formally resigned earlier in November.

“By the end of the leadership race, a lot of us were very glad to lose,” said Kuttner, also the party’s candidate in North Burnaby-Seymour in the 2019 federal election.

By the time Paul won the leadership, it was clear there were serious divisions and structural problems in the party, they said, not to mention a serious lack of preparedness to contest the next election. “You’re inheriting a huge amount of responsibility and a very difficult, tenuous situation.”

In an interview during that leadership race, Kuttner told The Tyee that the Green Party had a record of seeking diverse candidates, then failing to create the environment where they will thrive and stay.

“They show up, they have an awful time, and they leave, so long term we don’t have the ability to actually diversify the politics,” they said then, adding the party lacked an understanding of how to create an inclusive party that welcomes equity seeking groups.

Reminded of their observation and asked how it fits with what’s happened since, Kuttner said, “I feel like I was right. Very extensively right.”

One of the frustrations is that the focus on identity can be a distraction that makes it difficult to see the whole person, they said.

“[A candidate’s] identity factors into it, it gives you the lived experience of often marginalization and oppression that is extremely relevant to be bringing, but [ultimately] it probably doesn’t tell you anything.”

There are various dynamics at play, including that political parties are like other systems rooted in white supremacy, colonialism and patriarchy, Kuttner said.

“You’re inviting individuals to sit at a table that is not constructed for them,” they said, “and what you have to do is change that table so that it’s actually one that’s collectively created by everybody, no matter their background.”

It’s tough work, but necessary to create a space where everyone feels like they belong and “nobody feels reduced to the colour of their skin, or their gender, or their cultural heritage or anything like that,” they added.

“I think the lesson here is ‘who are we’ cannot be determined by the one person you put in the leadership chair, because that doesn’t match the system.”

According to the Green Party release announcing Kuttner’s appointment from among 20 applicants, “At 30 years and 11 months, they are the youngest, the first trans person, and the first person of East Asian descent to lead a national political party.”

Kuttner has a PhD in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where they studied black holes in the early universe and what happens when worm holes evaporate. They are the founder of the moonlight institute, a non-profit that explores frameworks to adapt to the climate crisis.

When Kuttner was 14-years-old and away at boarding school in California, a mudslide destroyed the family home in North Vancouver, killing their mother and severely injuring their father, an experience Kuttner has said made them especially alert to environmental dangers.

Stepping into the leadership role on an interim basis feels right, Kuttner said. “It’s a different job. There’s a rebuilding, very practical, aspect to it that I think is what I was interested in the whole time.”

They added, “When you go through a breakdown, you look inward and you figure it out, and that’s kind of what we need to do.”

The Green Party constitution requires that a leadership contest must start within six months of the appointment of the interim leader.  [Tyee]

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Comments that violate guidelines risk being deleted, and violations may result in a temporary or permanent user ban. Maintain the spirit of good conversation to stay in the discussion.
*Please note The Tyee is not a forum for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, denying its existence or minimizing its risk to public health.

Do:

  • Be thoughtful about how your words may affect the communities you are addressing. Language matters
  • Challenge arguments, not commenters
  • Flag trolls and guideline violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity, learn from differences of opinion
  • Verify facts, debunk rumours, point out logical fallacies
  • Add context and background
  • Note typos and reporting blind spots
  • Stay on topic

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist, homophobic or transphobic language
  • Ridicule, misgender, bully, threaten, name call, troll or wish harm on others
  • Personally attack authors or contributors
  • Spread misinformation or perpetuate conspiracies
  • Libel, defame or publish falsehoods
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities
  • Post links without providing context

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Are You Preparing for the Next Climate Disaster?

Take this week's poll