Our new leader — Elizabeth May

Elizabeth MayWhat’s our new leader like?

She’s in control in a media scrum.  She’s knowledgeable on every topic that comes up.  She quotes facts, dates, numbers and people in a relentless barrage.  She contrasts current policies with others that have worked better at other times or in other places.  She points out contradictions in government strategies and leads the listener through to reasonable solutions.  Best of all, she does it while oozing grace and good humour, smiling all along.

She’s not afraid of controversial topics.  She immediately embraced the policy resolution to withdraw from NAFTA and announced it in her leadership speech.  She spoke about how NAFTA has served to degrade our labour and environmental laws.  She pointed out that when we have finally won a long and protracted legal battle over softwood lumber through NAFTA, we’ve had to back down and accept an American compromise instead, and that we have better protections through existing international trade documents.

At the convention, surrounded by friends and supporters, the grace and good humour remain, but she spends more time listening and less time dropping names and facts.  She has a moment and a kind word for everyone.  She comes across as warm and sincere, introducing you to others and remembering to express what you may have in common and to praise any work you’ve done.

At the debate presented by the Rotary Club, she got up to the podium, started speaking, realized she was hoarse and grabbed her neighbour’s water, noting that she hoped he didn’t mind while smiling all the while, then pointing out that now they were very close.  I can only remember that kind of fearless charming confidence in two women I’ve met, both of whom I admired tremendously.  Seeing that kickstarted my admiration of Elizabeth herself, not just for her work as an activist, but as a person.

At her house party, she’s most natural of all.  The party is so huge that my taxi driver comments that all the taxis seem to be going there.  She leaves everyone briefly to give an interview.  Someone reminds her to brush her hair.  Later, as the crowds disperse, Elizabeth grabs a huge bowl of chips, plops herself into a chair and starts eating, offering to share with her neighbours.  Later still, with some guests sleeping scattered on sofas, others talking quietly, she suggests to me that the best place to sleep is in her bed, if that’s okay with me.  It’s okay with me.  So there I am, with Spunky the dog snoring at my feet, conspiring with Elizabeth May over Rosie the cat being patted between us.

The Green Party is in very good and capable hands.

2 responses to “Our new leader — Elizabeth May”

  1. Andrew James writes:

    Nice post Adriana. I supported David C., but I realized after his concession speech and Elizabeth’s victory speech that she was the better choice. She’s earned the right to lead this party.

    My main concern with her victory is the optics, i.e. that business/professional people (such as myself) who were attracted to the party by Jim’s emphasis on fiscal, uh, conservatism along with social liberalism may be put off by apparently “radical” policy pronouncements. The GPC should not be a fringe protest party, obsessed with social justice issues and business malfeasance. That’s the NDP’s job, and we’ll get no traction there.

    I am currently wondering how to best send a message to the public that business/professionals will still feel comfortable in this party. That’s Elizabeth’s job, and I can only hope that it’s also her inclination.

  2. Stephen Davies writes:

    I certainly was not put off by May’s election at the recent GPC convention. I was very pleased to see the GPC delegates elect her and can assure you (as a business/professional type) that I am not put off. I agree the GPC should not be a fringe protest party. IMHO, GPC needs to communicate a comprehensive policy platform that provides a viable long term stance across all sectors of public life.

    In that regard, one area where I think the GPC is currently vulnerable is with respect to its foreign policy and I don’t understand why. It isn’t hard to see the similarities between the dominator culture that feeds the military industrial complex and the dominator culture that consumes our natural capital without regard to long term sustainability.

    Hopefully, Elizabeth May will draw out this common thread and use it to make Canada’s military involvement overseas (i.e. Afghanistan) a wedge issue in the next election.

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