Elizabeth May has stepped down as the leader of Canada’s Green Party, and the search for the next head is underway.
“I wanted to choose a moment when we had had a lot of success before leaving,” May said at a press conference in Ottawa on November 4.
May, the leader since 2006, has lead the lead the party into having their first three seats in Parliament.
She said she will still have a role in the party as parliamentary leader of the Green caucus. She will also remain as MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
Deputy leader Jo-Ann Roberts will act as interim leader as the Greens prepare for a leadership convention. She said she will help “take the party into the next stage.”
Hundreds of comments were left on the Green Party of Canada Facebook announcement, with many supporting May’s decision.
“You’ve been such an inspiration and I cannot express how much I respect you as a politician, but more importantly, as a human being,” Facebook commentator Beverly Ann wrote.
“Thank you for working so hard to put the Green Party on the map and for fighting so passionately for climate change and human rights. I appreciate you and thank you so very much, Ms. May.”
May said part of her decision to leave comes from a promise to her daughter that the 2019 election would be her last.
The party currently has 20,000 members; each member will receive one vote on a ranked voting ballot to decide who the new Green leader will be.
Throughout the three-year time until the race for the next election, Roberts will travel the country and build the party’s following.
Ontario’s Green leader Mike Schreiner told CBC, “Elizabeth has built a strong foundation” not just with having a female perspective in politics, but also built a connection with her following.
“All of us owe a big round of thanks to Elizabeth may for her hard work,” Schreiner said.
He assumes May will be a mentor and friend to the new leader, like she has been for other elected Greens.
With May being the “heart and soul” of the Greens, according to Schreiner, her shoes may be difficult to fill.
The Green leadership convention is scheduled for the first week of October 2020 in Prince Edward Island.