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 couple escapes Spain – safe, sound, and in self-isolation

BC couple Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Emergency response teams continue services during pandemic

The RCMP, SAR, and fire department proceed with operations throughout COVID-19 situation

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Mental health in the time of COVID-19

Taking care of our mental health is just as important as protecting our physical health

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

‘There is community’: B.C. councillor welcomes new baby into world amid COVID-19 pandemic

‘I realize there’s much more than fear and worry… there is hope, there is new life’: Jason Lum

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

Most Read