Member of Parliament Elizabeth May stepped down as leader of the Green Party of Canada effective immediately on Monday.
May will stay on as parliamentary leader, with the party’s deputy leader Jo-Ann Roberts becoming the interim leader. A new leader will be chosen at the party’s convention in October of 2020. May had also been considering a run to be Speaker of the House of Commons, but has decided against that idea and will work with her fellow MPs on the opposition bench, though she did hint at a speakership run after the next election.
The decision was made a long time ago, May told the Driftwood on Tuesday, but the timing of the announcement was made to ensure the party has time to establish a new leader before the next federal election.
“The reality is in a minority parliament, we should be election ready as soon as possible. Knowing that I wasn’t willing to lead the party into another election, that meant getting started soon on setting up a leadership race,” she said.
May’s announcement comes after the party got the best electoral results in its history in October. Across the country, over one million voters voted Green, which was the party’s second best turnout under May’s leadership. In 2008, the party received 6.78 per cent of the popular vote, just over 2019’s 6.5 per cent.
“The future is very bright. Right now, we have a lot of momentum. We have built substantially across the country,” May said, stating that there were 50 ridings where Green candidates got over 10 per cent of the popular vote.
“These are big gains, and they show we have room to grow and to build,” she added. “I will be supporting and working with a new leader going into the next federal election campaign. I find that very exciting.”
May will be staying on as MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands and hopes to run for re-election in the next federal election.
May has been thinking of her successor, and has a few ideas of people who could take the reins in 2020, including former candidates and others. However, rules have not been set about the convention, and those will be announced at a later date.
“It’s time for the Green party the next generation. It’s like the serialization from Star Trek to Star Trek the Next Generation,” May said. “We’re ‘boldly going where no Green has gone before.’”
For more on this story, see the Nov. 6, 2019 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.