Embattled leader of Canada's Greens says party drops bid to oust her

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FILE PHOTO: Vigil organised after Canadian Muslim family was killed in hate crime by man driving pickup truck, in London, Ontario

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Annamie Paul, the embattled leader of Canada's Greens, said on Monday that party leaders had dropped a bid to oust her after a quarrel over policy toward Israel.

The party's federal council was scheduled to meet on Tuesday to decide whether to strip Paul of the job she only won eight months ago. The turmoil could hobble the party in a national election that aides to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau say is only just months away.

Paul, the first Black person to head a mainstream Canadian political party, said the proposed council meeting had been scrapped and that no motions of no confidence in her would be presented. She declined to give details.

"This was not infighting, rather a one-sided campaign to end my leadership," she said in a statement

Paul said earlier in Toronto that she had thought several times about quitting but wanted to stay and fight for important causes.

"This moment has been one of the most painful in my life ... it is extremely hard to have your integrity questioned," she told reporters.

The Greens, who have only two legislators in the federal House of Commons, appeared well-placed to benefit from increasing concern about the environment.

But last month, they lost a third lawmaker when Jenica Atwin defected to the governing Liberals. She had condemned Israel's air strikes in Gaza, prompting Paul aide Noah Zatzman to accuse her of anti-Semitism and promise to defeat her.

Paul resisted internal pressure to condemn Zatzman, who has since left the party. Paul is not a member of Parliament.

While the Greens are the smallest faction in Parliament, they perform well in the Pacific Coast province of British Colombia, where they hold their two federal seats.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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