Community People Profiles is a series on the Salt Spring Exchange featuring local personalities on our dynamic Gulf Island. Our People Profiles are short interviews, with one answer questions to share with you a little about what each of the people we will feature are thinking about as they go about their lives living on Salt Spring Island.
This weeks featured (honorary) local people profile is: Elizabeth May
Elizabeth May is an environmentalist, writer, activist, lawyer, and leader of the Green Party of Canada. Elizabeth became active in the environmental movement in the 1970s. She is a graduate of Dalhousie Law School and was admitted to the Bar in both Nova Scotia and Ontario. She held the position of Associate General Counsel for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre prior to becoming Senior Policy Advisor to the federal minister of the Environment from 1986 until 1988. Elizabeth became Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada in 1989, a position she held until March 2006, when she stepped down to run for leadership of the Green Party of Canada.
Elizabeth is the author of seven books, including her most recent Losing Confidence: Power, Politics and the Crisis in Canadian Democracy. Elizabeth holds three honourary doctorates, and the Elizabeth May Chair in Women’s Health and the Environment at Dalhousie University was created in her honour. She has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the International Institute for Sustainable Development and as Vice-Chair of the National Round Table on Environment and Economy and is currently a Commissioner of the Earth Charter International Council. Elizabeth became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005. In November, 2010, Newsweek magazine named her “one of the world’s most influential women.” In the 2011 Election, Elizabeth made history by being the first Green Party candidate to be elected to the House of Commons. She is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.
Q. What brought you to Salt Spring Island. OR What is your connection to Salt Spring Island.
I first came to Salt Spring Island for the launch of the first edition of my book on Canada’s forests, At the Cutting Edge- the crisis in Canada’s forests, in 1999. It was a wonderful first experience. The event was organized by the Salt Spring Conservancy and took place when our now well-known and well-loved arts centre, Artspring had just recently opened. On impulse, even though I then lived on the other side of the country, I joined the Conservancy and benefited from the great flow of invitations and news about, what was then a new and favourite island.
Q. What one thing about Salt Spring would you tell someone who has never visited the island?
That is a tough question! Only one thing? I think it would be that the Saturday Farmers’ Market is a foodie paradise that must not be missed -- locally grown organic everything, wild caught sustainable fish, locally made cheeses, mouth-watering aromas from baked goods, as well as an amazing array of clothing, jewelry, hand-turned wood bowls, pottery... pretty much anything and everything! And did I mention artisanal free trade organic chocolates? And French petit fours!? You can even reach Raffi on an organic Banana-phone!
Q. If you had a magic Salt Spring wand, what island thing would you change.
Safer paths for bicyclists.
Q. Which well known person, living or dead, do you think would be a good addition to the island.
Mark Twain. He would love Arthur Black.
Q. Is there a really good interview question should I have asked you....and what would the answer be.
Q. When will you become our Prime Minister?
A. Any day now. ☺