The Current

Elizabeth May says questions about her political future are 'trivial' in face of climate change

Despite falling short of a projected electoral breakthrough, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says the party's three MPs are focused on being “the conscience of Parliament."

Party's three MPs focused on being 'conscience of Parliament,' says May

Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaks to supporters after her victory in Saanich—Gulf Islands Monday night. (Chris Corday/CBC)

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The Green Party fell short of a projected election breakthrough Monday, but Elizabeth May has dismissed the idea of handing over the reins as leader, saying her own political future is "rather a small question" in the face of climate change.

"I'm thinking about the planet's future, thinking about my grandchildren's future," she told The Current's interim host Laura Lynch.

"Compared to what do we do as a society … political futures are rather trivial questions."

May said that she remains resolute that "continuing to ... give lip service to the climate crisis, without changing our direction and changing our policies, is not only inadequate — it's an abdication of responsibility."

May has been party leader since 2006, and became an MP in 2011. 

She retained her seat in Saanich-Gulf Islands Monday night. While the party doubled its national vote share from 2015, and won three seats nationally, it fell short of the projected six. Along with May, Paul Manly hung on to his seat in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, and Jenica Atwin won in Fredericton, becoming the first Green MP elected east of B.C.

Green Party Elizabeth May speaks to a crowd of supporters on election night in Victoria, B.C. 9:06

The Liberals won 157 seats, and are expected to form a minority government. The Conservatives own the popular vote, but finished with 121 seats. The Bloc Québécois finished with 32; the NDP with 24.

May said her party's role is now to be "the conscience of Parliament," and "hold the Liberals to account."  

She said her three Green MPs could be aided by Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was elected as an independent MP in Vancouver Granville. Wilson-Raybould was ejected from the Liberal caucus in April along with Jane Philpott over the SNC-Lavalin affair. 

May extended an invitation for both women to join the Greens, but they declined. Philpott lost her seat Monday night.

Written by Padraig Moran. Produced by Max Paris. 


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