Annamie Paul, the former leader of the Green Party, resigned after the 2021 federal election, allowing Elizabeth May to return to the position in November. Many were surprised by May’s decision, which was met with both enthusiasm and skepticism. She shares the title with Jonathan Pedneault, her co-leader.
This week, Hot Politics presenter David McKie visited her office in Ottawa for an interview.
May’s exclusive interview with Canada’s National Observer examined the significance of her decision to return to party leadership for the Green Party and Canadian politics.
May was forthright about the turmoil her party has endured over the past few years and the effort required to reintegrate the Greens into the political mainstream.
Elizabeth May is back
Under Paul’s stewardship, the Green Party experienced a decline in support, garnering only 2.3% of the popular vote in the 2021 election. Paul’s administration was marred by publicized internal conflicts and fundraising difficulties.
We are nowhere near where we ought to be in terms of influence… It will require time to reconstruct. “However, it will return,” May said.
May retains the distinction as Canada’s longest-serving female federal party leader. She held the position from 2006 to 2019 without interruption. Since 2011, she has served as the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
With the publication of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, May stated that her party’s efforts are more important than ever.
She asked, “When the planet is on fire, what the heck are people paying attention to other than climate work?”
May also expressed “frustration” with current Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and party leaders such as Jagmeet Singh of the New Democratic Party for adopting what she termed an incrementalist approach to reducing emissions and achieving climate objectives.
May stated that our government is not striving to avoid 1.5 or 2 degrees of warming. They are working to ensure that the fossil fuel industry can continue to operate for as long as feasible while professing to take climate action. It is cognitive dissonance on an incomprehensible scale.”