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

Ktunaxa, supporters celebrate protection of Qat’muk and the Jumbo valley

Speeches, acknowledgements and ceremonies mark an emotional gathering in Cranbrook

Jumbo Valley to be protected, ending decades-long dispute over proposed ski resort

Development rights permanently retired for site of proposed year-round ski resort west of Invermere

FedEx distribution centre coming to Castlegar

Development permit for ground facility before council next week.

Kootenay teams heading for curling provincials

Team Buchy and Team Nichols won the senior playdowns.

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read