Elizabeth May

We need to look at all of Canada’s priorities, but we must address the climate crisis . . . if we fail to address it, nothing else we do makes any difference.

Elizabeth May is Leader of the Green Party of Canada and is an environmentalist, writer, activist and lawyer active in the environmental movement since 1970.  Before winning the leadership in 2006, she was the Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada.

Elizabeth is a graduate of Dalhousie Law School and was admitted to the Bar in both Nova Scotia and Ontario. She has held the position of Associate General Council for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, representing consumer, poverty and environment groups in her work in 1985-86.  In 1986, Elizabeth became Senior Policy Advisor to then federal Environment Minister, Tom McMillan.

She first became known in the Canadian media in the mid-1970s through her leadership as a volunteer in the grassroots movement against aerial insecticide spraying proposed for forests near her home on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.  Her volunteer work also included successful campaigns to prevent approval of uranium mining in Nova Scotia, and extensive work on energy policy issues, primarily opposing nuclear energy.

Elizabeth is the author of seven books, Budworm Battles (1982), Paradise Won: The Struggle to Save South Moresby (1990), At the Cutting Edge: The Crisis in Canada’s Forests (Key Porter Books, 1998, as well as a major new edition in 2004), co-authored with Maude Barlow, Frederick Street; Life and Death on Canada’s Love Canal (Harper Collins, 2000), How to Save the World in Your Spare Time (Key Porter Books, 2006), Global Warming for Dummies (co-authored with Zoe Caron, John Wiley and Sons, 2008) and most recently Losing Confidence: Power, Politics and the Crisis in Canadian Democracy, (MacLelland and Stewart, 2009).

She has served on numerous boards of environmental groups and advisory bodies to universities and governments in Canada, including the Earth Charter Commission, co-chaired by Maurice Strong and Mikhail Gorbachev. Elizabeth is the recipient of many awards including the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Sierra Club in 1989, the International Conservation Award from the Friends of Nature, the United Nations Global 500 Award in 1990 and named one of the world’s leading women environmentalists by the United Nations in 2006. In 1996, she was presented with the award for Outstanding Leadership in Environmental Education by the Ontario Society for Environmental Education. She is also the recipient of the 2002 Harkin Award from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS). In 2006, Elizabeth was presented with the prestigious Couchiching award for excellence in public policy.

Elizabeth was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005. She is a mother and grandmother.