Marthe Lépine (centre) participates in a GPR candidate debate in Rockland. Lépine has been dropped from the Green Party, but is continuing to run in the federal election as an Independent. Glover photo

GPR – Early last week, the Green Party of Canada announced in a press release that Marthe Lépine was being removed from their party. Lépine was the candidate for the Glengarry–Prescott–Russell riding in the upcoming (Mon., Oct. 21) federal election. The Green Party chose to cut ties with Lépine due to social media posts the candidate had made about abortion.

The release read: “Today [Oct. 7] the Green Party of Canada (GPC) removed Marthe Lépine as its candidate for Glengarry–Prescott–Russell. Lépine had recently published several posts expressing views about abortion that did not align with GPC policy.” The release concluded in stating: “The Green Party will always fight for access to timely, safe, legal abortions,” said Green Party director of communications John Chenery. “It recently came to light through social media posts, that Ms. Lépine does not support this position so she has been removed as a candidate.”

While Lépine has been removed from her former party, the deadline had already passed for her name to be removed from the ballot. When asked through email if her intention was to continue to run in the election, Lépine responded, “Yes, I am still interested.” She went on to note, “I checked with Elections Canada, and I am allowed to still run as an Independent.” Lépine went on to clarify that on voter ballots, her name will still be associated with the Green Party but votes cast for her will not be associated with that party. “[If] someone wants to vote for me, they can do it, even though my name will still be followed by a mention of the Green Party. Those votes will not be attributed to the Green Party but to myself as an Independent candidate,” she said. 

When asked for comment about the decision of the Green Party to remove her as a candidate, Lépine expressed that when parties block candidates with anti-abortion beliefs, this could lead to large sections of religious Canadians feeling “disenfranchised.” She added, “it seems to me that it could be seen as a breach of our Charter of Rights in the matter of religious freedom.”

When asked what she believed to be the two most important local issues for GPR, Lépine responded: “Infrastructure to support small businesses and attract new businesses, particularly in the tourism sector,” and “support [for] family farms, particularly through maintenance and/or expansion of the supply management system.” At the national level, Lépine believes the most important issues to be: “Climate change, of course. Related issues such as reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, to be replaced with clean technology, while redeploying current energy workers towards a green economy; abandoning plans for more pipelines,” and “more accountability from politicians.”