Elizabeth May Has Stepped Down as Green Party Leader

Former CBC host Jo-Ann Roberts will be taking over as interim leader.
November 4, 2019, 7:25pm
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May stepping down
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. Photo by The Canadian Press

After 13 years with Elizabeth May at the helm, the Green Party of Canada will be getting a new leader.

May announced she will be stepping down as party leader effective immediately at a press conference Monday.

Joined by former CBC host Jo-Ann Roberts, who will be taking over as interim leader until the party’s next convention in October 2020, May told reporters she’ll stay on as an MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands in British Columbia and as the Greens’ parliamentary caucus leader.

May said she will continue advancing action on the party’s core issues in the House of Commons. She said climate crisis, Pharmacare, and working on committees for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls were on her priority list, along with advocating for electoral reform.

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Roberts, meanwhile, told reporters she will spend her time travelling across the country, building up the party ahead of the Greens’ Charlottetown leadership convention next year.

“This is a position I take on somewhat reluctantly,” Roberts told reporters. “For now in the Green Party the focus is to start the search for the person who will take the Green Party into the next stage.”

“Elizabeth remains such a strong voice on environment and climate, and will continue to do that,” she added.

Though May has been the Greens’ only MP for most of the last decade, the party was poised to make major gains in 2019. The Greens out-fundraised the New Democratic Party in the second quarter of 2019, and the party picked up a second seat during a May by-election in the B.C. riding Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

But the Greens failed to tap into young people’s anxiety over climate change, and revealed the party’s weakness on race and discrimination on the campaign trail. The Greens only picked up one new seat, bringing their total to three after the October 21 election.

“We achieved more than one million votes for the first time ever,” May said of the election result. “There is no other country with first-past-the-post that has achieved what we’ve achieved.”

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