May, Elizabeth

 Elizabeth May (b at Hartford, Connecticut, US 9 Jun 1954) is the leader of the GREEN PARTY of Canada. She is a prominent environmental activist, author and lawyer who served as a policy advisor to the federal government and was for a decade and half the executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada. In 2005, she was appointed an Officer of the ORDER OF CANADA for her dedicated work to improve the environment for this and future generations.

Accompanying her parents, May moved as a young adult from the US to Cape Breton, NS, in 1973. There, she became active in the opposition to aerial insecticide spraying. In 1980, she was involved in organizing and being a candidate for the "Small Party," a precursor to the Green Party of Canada. She was also a member of the anti-nuclear movement and engaged in a costly court case seeking to prevent the spraying of Nova Scotia forests with "Agent Orange."

Following her graduation from Dalhousie Law School (1983), May served as a senior policy advisor (1986-88) to Tom McMillan, the Minister of Environment in the Mulroney federal government. However, she resigned from that post when that Conservative government allowed the building of the Rafferty and Alameda Dams in Saskatchewan without adequate environmental assessment.

Elizabeth May has written five books and numerous articles on the interrelated topics of the ENVIRONMENT and children's health. She was the founding executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada in 1989 and served in that role until 2006, with the exception of the brief period in 2001 when she went on a 17-day hunger strike to protest the federal government's inaction in cleaning up the Sydney tar ponds in Nova Scotia. She served as a member of the Earth Charter Commission (1997-2000) and occupied the Elizabeth May Chair in Women's Health and the Environment (1998-2000) at Dalhousie University.

In August 2006, Elizabeth May became the ninth federal leader of the Green Party of Canada. While the Green Party received more than 600 000 votes in the January 2006 election and increased its finances, it has to date neither exceeded 5% of the nation-wide vote nor elected any MPs. As the Green party leader, May will have to look for ways to break through these threshold barriers. To help foster publicity for her leadership and party, May was a candidate in the 2006 by-election in London North Centre, Ontario.