Is Elizabeth May Past Her ‘Best Before’ Date as Green Party Leader?

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May speaks with media at Press Conference in Thunder Bay
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May speaks with media at Press Conference in Thunder Bay

THUNDER BAY – OPINION – It is really simple when you come down to it. Our changing climate impacts all aspects of life here on earth. Politically, the professional polling companies have stated that to voters climate is, or was important to voters in Canada.

However, through the campaign, the Green Party at the national level trended downward in the polls. By last night, the Green Party saw Elizabeth May lead the party to an overall increase of one seat. The Greens now have three seats in the House of Commons.

Jonathan Dickie, the National Campaign Manager for the Green Party says, “Canadians across the country are looking to Greens with new eyes and excitement. The results tonight showed just that: Canada is ready to hear our voice.

“We’re more sure (sic) than ever that Canada is ready for our message of hope, action and positive politics.”

Continuing the Green cheers, “This election was one of the most critical in Canadian history,” said Ms. May. “I’m deeply grateful to the voters of Saanich-Gulf Islands for their confidence in re-electing me. To my extraordinary team, the staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly on my campaign, I cannot thank you enough. Congratulations to Jenica Atwin and Paul Manly whose teams and volunteers worked incessantly for this. It paid off and now we’re a contingent of three!

“I want to congratulate Green candidates and their teams from coast to coast for their incredible hard work. We’ve grown the Green vote everywhere and will continue to do so. “Also thanks to the thousands of volunteers who’ve worked so hard alongside the candidates to help get them elected. Not only “did we raise the bar on climate action, we made history again, together!”

Deputy Leader Jo-Ann Roberts commenting on the successes said, “We have doubled our national vote and we’re positioning ourselves for the future. The win in Fredericton is historic. Atlantic Canada is ready. We are growing Greens from coast to coast and that is going to make a huge difference moving forward. We’re ready and we’re going to make change happen.”

One might wonder just how long Green Party members and supporters are willing to wait? Despite the positive spin coming from Team May over the hard facts of an election that saw the Green Party appear unprepared and saw good candidates go down in flames, it is probably time – however hard that may be – for a change of leadership.

What it appears, however, is that while Canadians may want to hear the Green message of “hope, action and positive politics”, it may well be that they don’t want to hear that message from party leader Elizabeth May.
Elizabeth May was elected Green Party leader in 2006 and first elected to parliament in 2011. It would be harsh to suggest that May has not been a force to be reckoned with, or that she has been a trailblazer for the Green Party. She has been that, and more. She is a very hard-working member of parliament.

However increasingly it appears the message Elizabeth May is sharing just is not resonating with enough Canadians to reflect political success in the House of Commons.

Following the 2019 election, and Justin Trudeau and the Liberals being reduced to a minority might have some of the Green Party members lulled into believing that they can, or will have power or influence over the Liberals. The reality is Trudeau is more likely to reach out to the New Democrats because they hold enough seats to back up a minority Liberal Government.

Elizabeth May states, “The Green Party isn’t like any other political party. Our mission is to rescue grassroots democracy from the political spin that makes voters recoil. Our goal is to make sure the planet and our communities survive and thrive.”

Taking Ms. May at her word, right now, on the heels of this election, where the Green Party witnessed a significant drop in their national support, and failed to make hoped for and needed gains, it should provide the opportunity for the Green Party to step back, reflect, and select a new leader.

James Murray