After 12 Years, Elizabeth May Steps Down as Green Party Leader

In what may not be the most surprising news following the 2019 Federal Election, Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May has announced that she has stepped down as leader effective immediately, though she will still sit as the MP of Saanich-Gulf Islands, and House leader for the Greens.

May told reporters about her decision in Ottawa on Monday morning. May said she feels comfortable stepping down now after the Green Party’s best election showing yet. “We achieved more than one million votes for the first time ever,” May said via the CBC. “As I look around the world … there is no other country with first-past-the-post that has achieved what we’ve achieved.”

Along with over one million votes, the Green Party finished with three seats in last month’s election. When May took over leadership of the Green Party in 2006, they had a little over 664,000 votes and no seats in the election that year, which also brought Stephen Harper to power.

In 2008, May lead the Greens to an increased voter share of nearly 938,000 people, and she would eventually secure a seat of her own in British Columbia in 2011.

May also announced Monday that she will not be seeking the Speakership of the House even though she seemed open to campaigning for the role last week. Instead, May said that she’ll work with her two Green colleagues to hold the new Liberal minority government to account.

Former journalist Jo-Ann Roberts will serve as the party’s interim leader, and a party convention will be held in Prince Edward Island in October 2020 to choose the next permanent leader of the party.

Another Green Party leader, Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner, reacted to May’s resignation by thanking her and calling her a friend, a mentor and a hero.

“From the bottom of my heart, I thank her for putting the Green movement on the map in Canada and leading the party through historic growth and results,” Schreiner said in a media statement. “Elizabeth’s legacy is indisputable, and for the last decade she has been the heart and soul of the Green movement in Canada.”

“Her commitment to tackling the climate crisis and to leaving a healthy, livable planet for future generations has inspired millions of Canadians,” Schreiner added. “I respect her decision, her desire to spend more time with family and the importance of moving the party forward with new voices.”

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