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

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

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Black Press file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP execute search warrant; illegal drugs seized

Two Wetaskiwin residents have been charged with possession and trafficking of Methamphetamine.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Annual spending on debt interest is closing in on $3 billion

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

Alberta premier Jason Kenney, right and Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, provide details about Bill 13, the Alberta Senate Election Act., in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday June 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Minister Doug Schweitzer talks on Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit

Provincial government rolling out new benefit this April to better help small businesses.

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

By 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, 4,500 seniors had booked their appointments

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta’s COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

The court says it will reconvene with lawyers on March 5 for a case management plan by teleconference

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Sylvan Lake's Winter Village lured many visitors to the town this winter. The town has launched a new contest to attract a new business.
(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Mike Ammeter (Photo by Rebecca Hadfield)
Sylvan Lake man elected chair of Canadian Canola Growers Association

Mike Ammeter is a local farmer located near the Town of Sylvan Lake

Students and staff at Gateway Christian School wore pink Wednesday in support of Pink Shirt Day, a worldwide anti-bullying initiative that was started in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Students, central Alberta community celebrate Pink Shirt Day

Mayor of Sylvan Lake Sean McIntyre supports anti-bullying cause

Most Read