Elizabeth May, the longest-serving federal party leader, has stepped down.
Ms. May has led the Green Party through four federal elections and seen the party grow from zero to three MPs. At the same time, provincial Greens have made breakthroughs in B.C., PEI, New Brunswick and Ontario.
She said in Ottawa today that her resignation takes effect immediately, though she will stay on as House Leader for the party for now. Jo-Ann Roberts, the Greens’ unsuccessful candidate in Halifax, will take over as interim leader until the party elects a permanent one.
Ms. May said she will stay on as an MP for the foreseeable future, and may even run for Speaker of the House of Commons after the next election.
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the leaders of the opposition parties last week, and is set to meet with them next week. Mr. Trudeau and the Liberal team are still mapping out how they plan to operate with a minority government. No date has yet been set for when the House of Commons will come back, but Mr. Trudeau says he will announce a new cabinet on Nov. 20. According to his daily itinerary, Mr. Trudeau is today in the midst of a “personal" trip to Tofino, B.C., one of his favourite vacation spots.
Eleven senators have quit their caucuses to form a new nonpartisan caucus, the Canadian Senators Group (not to be confused with the Independent Senators Group). The senators come from across regions and political backgrounds – about half were appointed by Stephen Harper, and the rest by Mr. Trudeau or Paul Martin.
The first major legal challenge to the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement begins in a Federal Court courtroom in Toronto today. The pact means that most asylum seekers coming into Canada from the United States at official border crossings are automatically turned away. Over the last two years, there has been a sharp rise in the number of asylum seekers crossing at irregular points of the Canada-U.S. border to avoid being turned away. Lawyers for the prospective refugees argue the system violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international law.
A wetland area in Northern Ontario that is home to a rare and endangered turtle is shaping up to be a test of the Ontario Progressive Conservative government’s new species protection law, as a developer wants to turn the area into a quarry.
And, in an attempt to cut down on air pollution in India’s capital of New Delhi, authorities banned cars with licence plates ending in an odd number today. The city government has imposed an “odd-even” system for private vehicles on alternating days for the next 11 days.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the role of backbenchers in the new Parliament: “A minority Parliament should be a golden opportunity for backbench MPs from all parties to reduce the power of the party whip – but usually the opposite happens and discipline is tightened.”
Andrew Steele (The Globe and Mail) on Trudeau v. the premiers: “Behind the soothing language of the Liberals’ ‘Choose Forward’ platform is a myriad of specific details sure to infuriate the (mostly conservative) premiers of the Prairie provinces."
Jim Warren (Toronto Sun) on the future of Andrew Scheer: “To use a Seinfeld reference, Scheer is the ‘Opposite George Costanza’ of Canadian politics. On Brexit, NAFTA and Pride, Scheer should do the complete opposite of what he wants to do. He is a very nice man who made an excellent Speaker, but he should not be the Prime Minister of Canada.”
Sean Speer (National Post) on the future of conservative thinking: “The transition from a goods-producing economy to an intangibles economy — what economist Richard Baldwin refers to as a structural shift from an ‘economy of things’ to an ‘economy of thoughts’ — is producing secular challenges for certain people and places in our society. Conservatives have yet to formulate a credible response to these economic trends. We need to return to our problem-solving roots.”
Mark Lautens (The Globe and Mail) on why more scientists don’t run for office: “We may be in the midst of a vicious cycle where the rise in personal attacks and the tendency to avoid speaking plainly makes entering politics less and less appealing to those who, armed with data, have been trained to give an unvarnished opinion.”
Elizabeth Renzetti (The Globe and Mail) on the continued protests of Jane Fonda: “You can have your grandma goals, and I will happily defend your right to celebrate your well-earned retirement in any way you choose. Take a cruise. Learn to samba. Spoil your grandchildren as vengeance upon your own children. But the elders who are out there right now, protesting and advocating and being arrested, are earning a special kind of reward. They’re trying to rebuild a bridge between generations, one that’s in terrible disrepair.”