Green Party leader Elizabeth May in Qualicum Beach on Oct.17, 2019 talking about her party’s plans to eliminate fish farming in open ocean pens by 2025. - Cloe Logan photo

Elizabeth May resigns as Green party leader

Deputy Jo-Ann Roberts steps in as interim leader

Elizabeth May has stepped down as the leader of the federal Green party.

May told a news conference Monday on Parliament Hill that after 13 years in the job, she’s stepping down as leader effective immediately. She appointed deputy leader Jo-Ann Roberts as her interim successor.

Shortly after the federal vote on Oct. 21, May hinted that she did not expect to be the Green party’s leader in the next campaign. However, she did not say when she would step down.

READ MORE: Greens’ Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

May, 65, said she promised her daughter three years ago that the 2019 election would be her last as the leader — though not necessarily her last as an MP.

She also said it’s about timing — she’s predicting the newly elected minority Parliament will last about two years, which means the Greens need to have a new leader in place with plenty of time to prepare for the next campaign.

A leadership convention is to be held in Prince Edward Island in October 2020.

“You have to look at what’s in the best interest of the party,” May said during a gathering that was ostensibly to introduce her new caucus in Ottawa.

Including May, three Green MPs were elected last month, the most in its history but far shy of the 12 needed to gain official party status. Paul Manly was re-elected in Nanaimo-Ladysmith on Vancouver Island after winning a byelection there last spring. Jenica Atwin became the first Green MP elected outside B.C., upsetting the Liberal incumbent in Fredericton.

The Green party went into the recent federal election running neck-and-neck with the NDP in most polls, fuelled by momentum achieved by electoral success in provincial campaigns in B.C., Ontario, New Brunswick and P.E.I. But a strong performance by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in the latter half of the campaign helped resurrect his party, which lost 15 seats but came out better than many had expected with 24 MPs.

Roberts is a former CBC journalist and radio host who May appointed as her second-in-command in 2018. She ran unsuccessfully for the Greens in Victoria in 2015 and in Halifax this fall.

She said she is taking on the role reluctantly given May’s legacy as leader, but noted she will be focused on running the leadership race.

“This is not a replacement for Elizabeth May,” said Roberts. “I don’t think anybody would be up for that job.”

The fact that neither of the other two Green MPs were tapped for the interim job ensures they are eligible to seek the permanent job at next year’s leadership convention. Roberts confirmed that as the interim leader, she will not be allowed to seek the job on a permanent basis.

May has led the Greens since 2006, becoming the first Green MP elected to the House of Commons in 2011.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kootenay mother searching for son missing since Sept. 1

Police are investigating the disappearance of Cory Westcott

Castlegar food bank sees increased demand for housing supports

Community Harvest Food Bank also seeing more requests from seniors

Upgrades coming for Millennium Park washroom

Features include all-season washrooms, change rooms, family rooms and outdoor showers.

Man whose crime spree began in Nelson pleads guilty in death of female passenger

Anthony Cortez scheduled to be sentenced for 2017 incidents

Castlegar Rebels hold three-day camp before upcoming season

The camp looked a little different this year due to COVID-19 protocols

B.C.’s top doctor thanks supporters after revealing threats over COVID-19 measures

Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID-19 has caused some people to lash out in anger and frustration out of fear

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

NDP, Greens divided on pace of child care improvements in B.C. election campaign

NDP Leader John Horgan recommitted to $10-a-day child care and blamed the Greens for not supporting his efforts

Category 2 open burning prohibitions rescinded throughout Southeast Fire Centre

Category 3 open fires, as defined in the Wildfire Regulation, remain prohibited

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Interior Health reports five new COVID-19 cases

Across the region, 34 cases are active

Most Read