New Brunswick

David Coon not interested in federal Green Party leadership

Provincial Green Party Leader David Coon says he's not interested in the federal party leadership after Elizabeth May stepped down earlier Monday. 

Jenica Atwin, newly elected for federal Greens in Fredericton, also won't seek leadership

David Coon, Green Party MLA for Fredericton South, said he'll miss Elizabeth May's leadership of the federal party and is happy she's staying on as caucus leader in Parliament for now. (Logan Perley/CBC)

Provincial Green Party Leader David Coon says he's not interested in the federal party leadership after Elizabeth May stepped down earlier Monday. 

"My commitment and my passion is for New Brunswick, which I can best serve as an MLA and as premier of this province one day," Coon said in an interview with Shift New Brunswick.

May, who has been the federal Green leader since 2006, expressed pride when she announced she would step down immediately from the leadership.

"We achieved more than one million votes for the first time ever," May said in Ottawa. "As I look around the world … there is no other country with first-past-the-post that has achieved what we've achieved."

May said she had promised her daughter that the 2019 federal election would be her last as party leader and she is comfortable stepping down while the party is doing well. 

Former New Brunswick journalist Jo-Ann Roberts will serve as the party's interim leader before a new leader is selected on Oct. 4, 2020, at the party convention in Charlottetown.

Jenica Atwin, who will be the only Green Party member of Parliament outside British Columbia after her victory last month in Fredericton, also told reporters she will not be running for the leadership. She said she wants to focus on working for her constituents.

Elizabeth May, who stepped down as Green Party Leader, is asked about how she would like to be remembered. And newly elected Green MP Jenica Atwin shares her thoughts about May. 1:02

"There's a lot of work to do in Fredericton, and I just don't think it would be fair to them to even think about leadership at this point," Atwin said.

Coon said he was surprised by the timing of May's announcement, but he was happy to hear she is staying on as an MP and as leader of the three-member Green caucus in Parliament.

"That's great to know about her decision that she will continue to lead the caucus in the House of Commons, which is obviously very important with two new members of Parliament representing their constituencies under the Green banner," he said.

Coon said he will miss May's leadership and support in his role as Green MLA for Fredericton South.

Green MP Jenica Atwin said it wouldn't be fair to the people of Fredericton is she ran for federal leadership. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

"She has been inspiring to so many Canadians, including those who perhaps never had cast a vote for a Green MLA or MP," he said.

"She has been a force of nature on the Canadian political scene now for 13 years as leader of the Green Party and certainly that will be missed."

With files from Shift New Brunswick

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