2006: Elizabeth May, C.C.
Elizabeth May is the current leader of the Green Party of Canada. She is also an environmentalist, writer, activist and lawyer. Since the 1970s, she has led innumerable campaigns to protect Canada’s environment, starting with a triumph over an aerial insecticide program in her native Cape Breton.
In 1986, May became senior policy advisor to Tom McMillan, the federal minister of environment. She resigned over a matter of principle in the granting of permits for Saskatchewan’s Rafferty and Alameda dams.
In 1989, she became the first national staff member of the Sierra Club of Canada and, soon after, its first executive director. She has pushed to protect vast areas of Canadian wilderness, promote bylaws against the use of dangerous pesticides, act on the threat of climate change and clean up the Sydney Tar Ponds, among other issues. In 2001 she went on a hunger strike to get government action on hazardous waste.
When she received the Order of Canada last year, May said, “This honour is one that belongs to every Canadian who works to protect a forest ecosystem, to stop a pesticide spray program, to fight a toxic incinerator or for real progress in reducing greenhouse gases. We are all standing on guard for Canada.”
May is a former member of the board of the International Institute of Sustainable Development and is former vice-chair of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.
In 1999, Dalhousie University created a permanent chair in her honour, the Elizabeth May Chair in Women’s Health & the Environment. She has received numerous awards, including the United Nations Global 500 award and two honourary doctorates. She is the author of four books. In 2005 Elizabeth May appointed an Officer to the Order of Canada.
In 2011 she became the first Green Party member to be federally elected to Canada’s House of Commons, representing the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.
2016 Summer Conference
The Canada Project
Identity, Citizenship, and Nationhood in a Changing World
August 5-7, 2016
The YMCA Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, ON