The Better Way For Elizabeth May

Convivium, 13 September 2019

Father Raymond de Souza recommends the Green Party leader stop apologizing for her Christian faith and recognize that politics won’t save the world. Christ already has.

Despite profound differences, I am fond of Elizabeth May. She is forthright – with perhaps the freedom that leading a small party allows – and seems good fun. We have hosted her at our Cardus Ottawa office for a panel discussion. When I have run across the Green Party leader here and there, the exchanges have always been cordial.

All of which is the kind of thing you say when there is a “but…” coming. Which there is. Her recent “power lunch” interview with CBC’s Power and Politics podcast was a disappointment. Not only did she appear to concede that Christian faith has no room in our political conversation but, even worse, she appeared to reduce the Christian faith itself to a political program. The rapid-fire nature of the interview likely did not do justice to the full nuance of May’s views, but the interview as it stands leaves the impression that Christianity is a political program, but one that is not welcome in our politics.

The CBC’s Vassy Kapelos conducted the interview. I confess that I am unfamiliar with Kapelos and how she usually conducts interviews, but this one was a series of vigorous agreements on a range of issues. May was in friendly territory. After the policy part, Kapelos asked May who her political hero was.

“Flora MacDonald,” May said. “I loved Flora and loved how she stood in our Parliament with such dignity.”

The late Flora was our MP in Kingston and the Islands for 16 years, so that was nice to hear.

“Who is your personal hero?”

May said, “Jesus Christ – sorry.”

“Why?” asked Kapelos.

“Because he led a revolution that was nonviolent and he has inspired people for 2,000 years. I rely on his advice a lot.”

“Why did you say ‘sorry’?” Kapelos asked.

“I gave you my quick, honest answer… I did not self-edit,” May responded. “In Canada politicians should not wear their religion on their sleeve.” 

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