Former Green Party leader Annamie Paul stepped down after the 2021 federal election, leaving an opening for Elizabeth May to return to the post last November. May’s decision came as a surprise to many and was met with both excitement and skepticism. She shares the title with her co-leader Jonathan Pedneault.

This week, Hot Politics host David McKie sat down with her at her office in Ottawa.

May’s exclusive one-on-one with Canada’s National Observer explored her choice to return to party leadership and what this means for the Green Party and Canadian politics.

May was candid about the turmoil her party has faced in the past few years and the work that needs to be done to bring the Greens back into the political fold.

The Green Party witnessed a decline in support under Paul’s leadership, capturing only 2.3 per cent of the popular vote during the 2021 election. Paul's tenure was marred by publicized internal conflicts and difficulties in fundraising.

“We're not at all where we should be in terms of influence … it's gonna take time to rebuild. But it's coming back,” May said.

May holds the record for the longest-serving female leader of a federal party in Canada. She held the position consecutively for 13 years, from 2006 to 2019. She's been the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands since 2011.

With the release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, May said her party’s work is relevant now more than ever.

“When the planet is on fire, what the heck are people paying attention to other than climate work?” she said.

Elizabeth May talks about her choice to return to party leadership and what this means for the Green Party and Canadian politics on the newest episode of #HotPolitics.

May also expressed “frustration” with current Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and party leaders like the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh for taking what she called an incrementalist approach to reducing emissions and meeting climate goals.

“Our government isn't working to make sure that we avoid 1.5 or two degrees,” May said. “They're working to make sure the fossil fuel industry can go on as long as possible while claiming to do climate action. It's cognitive dissonance at a level that just makes no sense.”

To listen to the full interview with Elizabeth May, search for Hot Politics on your favourite listening app.

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