suspension of elected Councillor

At a January 16th Council meeting, an in camera session was initiated by GPC leader Jim Harris that cumulated in the suspension of Fundraising Chair Kathryn Holloway. Ms Holloway has compiled the documentation surrounding her suspension, including information from the unreleased minutes, here.

There were a number of aspects of this act that were of questionable legitimacy:

  • Ms Holloway had not been notified in advance of any concerns that other Councillors may have had. She had never received a reprimand or warning from the Chair or from the Council in relation to the charges made against her, and had not been notified of the motion in advance.
  • Background information was not circulated to other Councillors in advance of the meeting.
  • She was not given an opportunity to answer to the charges against her.
  • After the meeting, some councillors reported that they felt manipulated, coerced or otherwise dominated by the Leader, reporting that he had telephoned them, e-mailed them or left messages for them in the days leading up to the suspension, to discuss Holloway.
  • She was elected by - and was accountable to - members of the Green Party, not to other Councillors. She actively carried out her Council duties, including building and chairing a Fundraising committee and designing fundraising programs. She had gained tbe respect of many rank-and-file Greens by defending the rights of EDAs to fundraise their own members in the
face of Harris's desire for the central hub to do it.

Following her suspension, the Councillor was "removed" by Bruce Abel from her Federal Committee responsibilities, including chairing the GPC Fundraising Committee and participating in the the Revenue Sharing Committee and the Incorporation Committee.

According to the constitution, one need not be an active member of Council to be on either commitee, any member may sit on it. As no reference was made in this meeting, including in the in camera session, to the Councillor's performance on any of these committees, it is unclear why her removal was required.

The GPC Constitution has this to say (emphasis added):

Removal of Officers or Units

If any member of Federal Council fails to attend two meetings in a row without cause and without providing a written report in lieu of attendance, they shall be suspended from council until they provide such reports. If a member of Federal Council fails to attend three meetings in a row without cause and without providing a written report in lieu of attendance they will be removed from their position on council and be considered ineligible to run for a Federal Council position in the next election.

Federal council or a general meeting have the authority to:

1. remove any member of federal council or any member of a federal committee for a reason;
2. de-recognize any unit of the party for a reason.

Although it is not clear in the wording, the logical interpretation is that a reason might be required to be documented, recorded, provided to the Councillor concerned, or provided to the members to whom the Councillor is accountable. However, none of these were carried out.

The suspended Councillor repeatedly requested that the reason for the suspension, and the suspension meeting minutes, be made public to the membership.

Holloway requested a ruling from the GPC Ombuds Committee, which resulted in the GPC Ombuds Committee Report 2005-03-05.

Details about the suspension, published by Holloway based on her recollection, can be found here.

As of December 30, 2005, the GPC Fundraising Chair position remained vacant.