Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Elizabeth May Should Stay and Fight to Save Greens

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Elizabeth May Should Stay and Fight to Save Greens

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Elizabeth May should stay and fight to save Greens


An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Aug. 15:

Elizabeth May and Canada's Green party badly need one another. Without the popular May, the Greens would go almost entirely unnoticed in Canadian political life. And without her position as leader of the Greens, May would be just one MP from British Columbia with no claim to national attention.

Yet May is now somewhere in Cape Breton, using the time away afforded by a family holiday to contemplate quitting as head of the Greens. She says she's "broken-hearted" but isn't sure she can carry on as the party's leader. She says she'll make a decision this month.

May should stay, for her own sake, for her party and for the good of our political life. She has been a positive presence in the House of Commons, and having her further marginalized would be a modest but measurable loss to the national debate.

It would be even worse to see her slide off because of the issue that has ostensibly caused her to question the value of leading the Greens.

At the party's national convention 10 days ago, members endorsed the controversial anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement -- a completely unnecessary foray into divisive international politics. May opposed that move, which will inevitably drag the Greens down the rabbit hole of the Israeli-Palestinian question.

Rather than quit, though, May should stay and fight for what she believes in. She has made significant contributions to public life, and she has more to offer than serving simply as the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands.

It's quite true that under May's leadership, public support for the Greens has stalled. It hit its high-water mark in 2008, her first election as leader, when 6.8 per cent of Canadians voted Green. At the time, both the NDP and Liberals were in the doldrums and progressive voters were casting about for an alternative to the Harper Conservatives.

In last fall's election, though, the progressive/left vote swung behind Justin Trudeau's Liberals, to the detriment of both the NDP and the Greens. …

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