5 Oct 2006

Elizabeth May the new Green Party leader

Elizabeth May from the Sierra Club won the Green Party of Canada leadership contest. What makes Elizabeth run? Here is some stuff from her blog! I haven't quite worked out what makes the Canadian Greens tick, they are 'neither left nor right', which under previous leader Jim Harris involved 'fiscal conservatism', a left wing split from the party appeared and then seemed to collapse.

Jim who worked in the 1980s in the Green Party press office in the UK, is said by some to have been pro corporations...the mystery deepens, Elizabeth May looks like a strong but perhaps slightly apolitical figure..is this fair, comments please!

Elizabeth May's Blog

Green Weekend

I finally had a whole weekend at home. It was heaven. I didn't actually stop working, (we had our first federal council meeting Sunday night and I had to catch up on a a few hundred emails) but I did get back to some of my favourite things. Saturday did a bit of "spring" cleaning in the fall, while also preparing some new Green Party materials and taking a dozen phone calls in anticipation of the first council meeting (by two hour conference call Sunday night).

Sunday morning I was back at St. Bartholomews Anglican Church for the first regular fall hours of worship...my regular worship is important to me and this particular parish is an extended family.

I spent Sunday afternoon like Martha Stewart -- not with an ankle bracelet, but busy in the kitchen. I had not baked bread since some time in June. While four loaves of organic whole wheat were almost out of the oven, a friend walked in with armloads of fresh organic basil from her garden, so pesto making started in another corner. I traded a loaf of bread for the basil (and also mint and parsley), an exchange my daughter found timeless. She imagined it happening 1,000 years ago. The aromas, bread out of the oven, basil and mint) were intoxicating.

Monday was off to Montreal for a series of meetings and events...meeting the Green Party web team which is based in Montreal, an interview with the UQAM paper, meeting "Generation Green" Quebec -- reps from the local youth movement (McGill, UQam, and other campuses), a meeting with former Quebec candidates and campaign managers to consider our Quebec strategy and, last, a speech, the Mona Elaine Adelman Memorial lecture at a Westmount synagogue, that brought me to Montreal in the first place. The entire day also enlivened by the presence of the CBC national TV news crew, now doing a profile on me. So Leslie MacKinnon and her producer, camera man and sound tech, met me at the train station at 8:45.. I had not been sure they were coming, but realized I would need to leave the cab semi-elegantly when I spotted them on the sidewalk(lugging my computer bag, travel reading and note bag, purse and a canvas bag full of empty containers to bring home take-out for my daughter from our favourite restaurant in the world, Chu Chai on rue St. Denis in Montreal....everyone at Sierra Club used to tease me for the number of bags usually slung over my shoulders...). They filmed me boarding the train, then they headed off by van to Montreal, then filmed many of the meetings through the day and the speech. I watched them longingly as they set off before I tackled the Q and A session to drive back to Ottawa, knowing I'd be on a bus a few hours after them...Still, it was a great day!

Keep those cards and letters coming...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I am still receiving the wave of congratulatory messages. Some may seem surprising -- the Ambassador from Libya beat the rest of the diplomatic corps to the punch, and then there was a warm, friendly note from Tom d'Aquino at the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, another from the head of the Forest Products Association. These are people I have actually worked with for years.

The home phone messages from prominent politicians came flooding in on Convention weekend (Paul Martin, Stephane Dion, Jack Layton, Martha Hall Findlay, Stephen Owen, Geoff Regan, Paul Dewar...). Although the daily number of fun messages on my home machine is now dropping off, I did get a belated and warm message yesterday from Peter MacKay, whom I have known forever. When I was on my hunger strike to protect families living next to the Sydney Tar Ponds, he was particularly solicitous. One memorable morning, he came running out (literally) of Center Block, with his cell phone outstretched to have me speak with Nova Scotia's Premier, John Hamm.

Yesterday's call from the Prime Minister may be a Green Party first. Stephen Harper very graciously extended his congratulations. We discussed the voting method for our leadership convention which he approved as very democratic. Conversation moved to proportional representation, Senate reform and (of course) climate change. It could not have been a much nicer or more friendly chat.

This morning I heard from a woman I really admire, Laurel Broten, Ontario's Minister of Environment. She is the only member of a provincial Cabinet ever to give birth to twins while in cabinet! And not miss a beat. The boys are now 11 months old. Although I am enraged by Premier McGuinty's decision to go for new nuclear reactors, I remain fond of Laurel Broten and grateful that, at least, the Ontario government remains strong on Kyoto.

I suppose as a leader of a federal political party, I may be expected to stop liking people in other parties. I do not intend to. In fact, I plan to work quite hard at keeping those relationships. What Canadian politics needs is not more partisanship; it is more cooperation.


Anonymous said...

I'm new to the Green Party of Canada, having just recently joined, in part to support Elizabeth May's bid for leadership and also due to fatigue from the extreme partisanship of our 3 "established parties" - the Liberals, New Conservatives (think Republicans) and the NDP. Elizabeth May is probably one of the most unique and interesting people to enter the Canadian political stage in my memory. She's hard to categorize but here's a link to a great interview she gave recently http://www.torontoist.com/archives/2006/09/tall_poppy_inte_38.php

Anonymous said...

You can't work out the Canadian Green Party? Perhaps, they can't work you out...

Derek Wall said...

Hi Anonymous,

I guess they don't actually spend much time not working me out.

Tell me more about them, so I can learn.

best wishes,


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