Update Monday 7 am: Elizabeth May has announced she will remain as Green party leader despite a controversy over the Middle East that has divided her members.
May says she wants to continue her work on electoral reform and will have more credibility as a party leader.
Saanich-Gulf Island MP and Green Party leader Elizabeth May is expected to end weeks of speculation about her future Monday.
May said she may step down as party leader, after party members voted in favour of controversial position on Israel, endorsing the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions,” or BDS, movement in a resolution passed at the party’s policy convention earlier in August.
May has spent the past week out of the spotlight, weighing her options while vacationing with family in Nova Scotia, but was expected to make a final decision following a Sunday evening conference call with party executives.
The policy has caused a rift within the Green movement, and May has been outspoken over her opposition to it.
“Well I’m struggling with the question of whether I should continue as leader or not quite honestly,” she said in an August 9 interview with CBC.
BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver says he had no choice to put out a statement distancing the provincial party from the federal one over BDS.
“That is not a policy, that singles a single participant in a very complex situation and frankly it had no business being discussed or debated,” he said. Weaver said he will stand behind May, whatever decision she makes.
While May’s leadership musing has caused some speculation she could jump to another party, she has said her intent, even if she resigns as Green leader, is to remain with the party serving as MP for Saanich-Gulf Island, and to seek re-election there under the Green banner.
She has also expressed hope there may be “some other mechanism” that could found within the Green Party’s constitution, other than a leadership race, that would allow it to re-consider the BDS policy before its next policy convention in two years.
UVic political scientist Michael Prince says if May were to step down now, it could throw the Greens into a deeper crisis. But he said it would also force a decision the party will have to make at some point.
“That’s their challenge, once this popular face of the party steps down as leader, whether its this week or a year or two, they’re going to face this crisis of what is life for the Green Party after Elizabeth May.”