Elizabeth May Will Stay On As Green Party Leader

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OTTAWA — Elizabeth May will remain Green party leader despite a controversy over the Middle East that divided members and prompted her to consider stepping down.

The party will revisit a convention resolution to support a movement to boycott Israel, along with any other recent policy decisions that lacked genuine consensus, May told a news conference Monday.

elizabeth may
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May speaks to supporters on election night at the Victoria Conference Centre in Victoria, B.C., on October 19, 2015. (Photo: Chad Hipolito/CP)

Meantime, May will focus on her work as a member of a parliamentary committee studying options for remodelling Canada's electoral system before the next national ballot in three years.

"This is a decision that I think the party needs as we build our strength, and as I work on electoral reform and we prepare for 2019," May said.

At the party's recent convention, members voted to express support for the so-called boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel — a move May opposed and which Jewish groups swiftly denounced.

"So what I've decided is that the reasons for staying are far more compelling."

May has blamed the resolution's passage on the process — brief statements followed by a majority vote rather than the party's time-honoured approach of a concerted effort to arrive at consensus.

During Monday's news conference, May called the party's recent troubles a "teachable moment" and said her belief in consensus decision-making applies to both how the party forms policy and national electoral reform.

"Consensus decision-making works better than winner-take-all decision making. It will work better for the electoral system of Canada and it worked better for the Green party of Canada," she said.

"So what I've decided is that the reasons for staying are far more compelling."

'Never even a consideration' to join NDP, Liberals

May spent the last several days pondering her future during a vacation in Cape Breton.

She firmly squelched suggestions she was considering joining the NDP or the Liberals. "That was never even a consideration."

May said she was "overwhelmed to read so many letters of support" from Green members, non-members and fellow MPs.

Media commentary made her feel like Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer, attending her own funeral. "It appears I am much loved — it's surprising to find sometimes in politics."

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