After taking a step back a couple of years ago, the Green Party’s Elizabeth May may be running for federal leadership once again.
May ran the party between 2006 and 2019 but resigned after she promised her daughter that year’s election would be her last race as leader. However, after a rough period of infighting and an unsuccessful federal election in 2021, the Toronto Star reported Thursday that May is planning to run as a co-leader with Jonathan Pedneault, who used to work as a researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Canada’s National Observer reached out to May for comment. She said she can “neither confirm or deny” the reports until Aug. 31 when candidates are announced.
The Greens’ share of the popular vote went from 6.5 per cent in 2019 to 2.3 per cent in 2021, and former leader Annamie Paul’s resignation followed soon after.
Amita Kuttner has served as the party’s interim leader since November 2021.
The state of the party obviously requires rebuilding, said University of Prince Edward Island political science professor Don Desserud. Although it’s unusual for a leader who already stepped back to want to take the reins again, he said, since the party is so small, it’s less surprising.
“I would say with her case, it's probably that she did have that hankering to come back … most leaders have that in their blood,” he said.
The Greens have been criticized as a one-person party that needs to move on from May to let new leadership build its base. Although Desserud is unsure whether she will be successful in her race, he agreed that having a party defined by one member is “not healthy in the long run.”
“I can imagine the Green Party faithful saying, ‘Back when Elizabeth was at the helm, things were run in a coherent manner, and we were on the move, and we want to get back to that,’” he said.
“That could be completely naive on their part. Maybe it wasn't like that at all. But it doesn't matter if, from their standpoint, it feels like this is a chance to start over.”
Elizabeth May ran the federal #Greens between 2006 and 2019 but resigned after she promised her daughter that year’s election would be her last race as leader.