Elizabeth May is the MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands and the leader of the federal Green Party.
May was first elected in 2011, the first Green Party candidate ever elected to the House of Commons. May has been an environmental activist since the 1970s. May first got involved in organized politics as the Senior Policy Advisor to the federal Minister of the Environment between 1986 and 1988. During that time she worked on the creation of several national parks and was involved in the negotiation of the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer.
In 1989 she became the Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada. She gained national attention for a 2001 hunger strike in front of Parliament Hill. The hunger strike was meant to bring attention to the tar ponds in Sydney and the adverse effects they were having on children’s health in the region. She stepped down to run for the Green Party leadership in 2006.
May has won many awards for her work as an environmentalist. Her successful campaigns have included the effort to ban Agent Orange and to prevent the approval of uranium mining in Nova Scotia. She is the author of seven books and holds three honorary doctorates. Her alma mater, Dalhousie University, created the Elizabeth May Chair in Women’s Health and the Environment in her honour. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005. In 2010, Newsweek magazine named her “one of the world’s most influential women.”
May has a degree in law and is a member of the Nova Scotia Bar and the Ontario Bar. She has served on the boards of numerous organizations including the International Institute for Sustainable Development. She acted as vicechair of the National Roundtable on Environment and Economy.