Elizabeth May

Canadian politician

Elizabeth Evans May OC MP (born 9 June 1954) is an American-born Canadian Member of Parliament, environmentalist, writer, activist, lawyer, and the leader of the Green Party of Canada. She was the executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada from 1989 to 2006. She became a Canadian citizen in 1978.

Elizabeth Evans May
I participate, therefore I am.



The Walrus interview (2012)

Susan Harada, "House Rules," The Walrus, May 2012
  • “I’m one of the few MPs who never has a prepared text for everything I do, because I don’t have a bunch of people telling me what I have to say,”
  • “Without sounding arrogant,” she says, “I’m good on my feet.”
  • “When women raise their voices to be heard over the noise, they sound hysterical,” she says. “It’s a sexist world. If you lose control over your lower register, you’re going to be seen as a nut.”
  • “Strategically, as leader of the Green Party and the first elected Green in Parliament, I didn’t want to be in a renovated bank building,” she says. “I wanted to be on Parliament Hill, in a building that screams out at you, this is Parliament!”
  • Heckling “tunes people out of their democracy,” she says
  • “I was raised to be extremely productive,” May recalls. “That was how my mom would put it; she’d say, ‘I had a very productive day.’ ”
  • “I’d rather have no Green seats and Stephen Harper lose, than a full caucus that stares across the floor at Stephen Harper as prime minister, because his policies are too dangerous,” she told the Toronto Star.
  • “C-10 is such a nightmare, because we’re going to have a ton of amendments,” she says. “And I can’t present them unless I’m physically there.”
  • “Don’t give up,” she implored. “Get up and fight.”
  • “Kyoto is not dead,” May says. “We’ve got a year to convince the prime minister to change his position.”
  • You can’t deal with an issue like climate change if you basically abandon a healthy democracy and allow a corporatist culture to make the decisions. So you need engaged citizens, and you need Occupy,” she says. “You need people who have never seen themselves as political to become political. We need maybe 15 to 20 percent of Canadians to become really engaged and demand better. And then we’ll get it.”

Losing Confidence - Power, politics, And The Crisis In Canadian Democracy (2009)

  • The increasing prominence of a presidential-style prime minister is steadily denigrating the traditions and institutions of Canadian democracy.
    • Introduction, p. 8
  • Three of my ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence. It's just that any system of government has it pluses and minuses and it's important to understand the system of government you do live under so that you can protect it.
    • Introduction, p. 10-11
  • I participate, therefore I am.
    • Chapter 1, The Degradation of Canadian Democracy, p. 15
  • The role of the individual MP has been sidelined by the power of the Cabinet, and now by the PM alone.
    • Chapter 2, Parliament as Anachronism?, p. 54
  • Little wonder that the dumbing down of the political discourse, the attack ads and war rooms reign triumphant. The fifth estate is an enabler in this addiction to political trivia in place of reasoned debate.
    • Chapter 3, The Americanization of Our Election Process, p. 91
  • We Canadians think that Canada is a modern, well informed democracy. We look down our noses at the dumbed down content on Fox News and CNN, without noticing that we are rapidly heading in the same direction.
    • Chapter 4, Democracy and the Media, p. 123
  • Of all the deteriorating aspects of Canadian democracy, the lack of concern over the ability of the national police force to interfere in elections is the one that most suggests Third World politics.
    • Chapter 5, Police State?, p. 124
  • Countries with high voting rates also have high levels of political knowledge.
    • Chapter 6, What If They held an Election and No One Came?, p. 159
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