Friday, November 19, 2010

Ottawa Group of Four Becomes Ottawa Group of Three

Qais Ghanem leaves Green Party amidst dispute

Once upon a time, Green Party leader Elizabeth May had a problem. Four problems, actually.

They called themselves the Ottawa Group of Four. Consisting of Sylvie Lemieux, Qais Ghanem, Akbar Manoussi and Paul Maillet, the Ottawa Group of Four had a flair for dramatic and extreme foreign policy pronouncements, even going so far as to sponsor a pro-Iran propaganda conference at the University of Ottawa.

May didn't in any way discipline any of the participants in this conference, which featured several University of Tehran academics who were known to express anti-Semitic views. She merely criticized them for the lack of balance at the conference.

This was apparently too much for Ghanem, and for Colin Hine, President of the Ottawa South Green Party riding association. They have both quit in a huff over May's comments.

"Regrettably, May’s comments to the media have been interpreted by some as implying that the Group of Four’s actions are helping spread anti-Semitic propaganda. This is untrue and unacceptable," Hine announced. "Without the trust, support and endorsement from the Green Party leader or the party, it is with great regret that the resignations of Qais Ghanem and Colin Hine from Ottawa South are hereby announced."

The announcement must have gone over like a rock concert in May's office. The departure of Ghanem and Hine from the Green Party leave her with two fewer zealots to worry about.

With Sylvie Lemieux and Paul Maillet still standing as Ottawa-area candidates, however, May will still have some problems to worry about. Akbar Manoussi does not seem to be seeking a candidacy in the next election.

So the Ottawa Group of Four has at least become the Ottawa Group of Three; or better yet, the Ottawa Group of Two.

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