Besieged Green party Leader Ryan Watson announced Thursday he is stepping down.
Watson had a tumultuous year as party leader. The party was recently in the headlines when Elections Nova Scotia threatened to deregister them for not meeting financial deadlines.
Other member complaints include Watson and party president Rob Pierce being outed by Frank Magazine for using a 2007 Cadillac SRX during the election to travel the province preaching conservation, failing to meet fundraising goals and failing to grow party visibility.
Watson announced on his blog Thursday he would step down as leader at the party’s annual general meeting this fall. In an interview with Metro he denied being forced out by displeased members.
“We were striving to do politics in a new way, and that’s not easy. We have been treading water a little bit for the last couple of years,” Watson said. “We’re looking for the right energy and the right people to take us to the next steps.”
Beyond just picking a new leader, the party is at a crossroads in regards to its whole system of leadership. Watson made $30,000 per year plus expenses. Some in the party are satisfied with that, some think the leader should make more and some think it should be a volunteer position.
“Even in the people who were opposed to Ryan, there’s already division in that camp about whether we simply need a better Ryan or we need to look again at the model we have,” said party member Michael Marshall, who urged Watson to step down.
“We’re internally contested even among the dissidents.”
Marshall said some party members thought a paid leader would solve their problems, but he said the party needs to be more involved at grass roots levels.
“The Greens are just notorious for being invisible between elections and we come forward at election time and demand to be in the debate. It’s ridiculous,” Marshall said.