Labchuk steps down as Green Party leader

Teresa Wright
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Sharon Labchuk at the lookout over Strathgartney Provincial Park. (file photo)

P.E.I. Green party Leader Sharon Labchuk announced today she is stepping down. 

After leading the party in Prince Edward Island for the last seven years, she said she felt it was time to move on.

“It’s been seven years. Parties have to change leaders once in awhile and it’s time that the Green party had a new leader,” Labchuk said in an interview this morning.

“I think I’ve done a fair bit of work getting the party established and now it’s time for other people to take over.”

Labchuk established the Green party of P.E.I. in 2005. Under her leadership the party placed third, behind the Progressive Conservatives, in both the 2007 and 2011 elections, and increased the party’s support last year’s election despite a drop in voter turnout.

She said she is happy to see how the party has grown and views its rising support among Island voters as a highlight of her time as leader.

But she said she is most proud of the number of women candidates the party fielded in the last two elections.

“We had over 50 per cent women, and it’s always been a goal of mine to encourage more women to be candidates and to be involved in politics, so I was pleased we could attract that many women.”

"It was the massive fish kills, the cancer-causing potato pesticides in our air, and the relentless contamination of our drinking water with chemical fertilizer that compelled me to start a political party. . ." Sharon Labchuk

Labchuk said she will not be leaving politics entirely as she still works with Elizabeth May as the national director of organizing for the federal Green party. She will also continue to work with the local party in an advisory role.

“But I’m looking forward to getting back to environmental activism with Earth Action.  I have unfinished business with the industrial agriculture and pesticide industries,” Labchuk said.  

“It was the massive fish kills, the cancer-causing potato pesticides in our air, and the relentless contamination of our drinking water with chemical fertilizer that compelled me to start a political party that has advocated for a 100 per cent organic province from day one. The situation remains serious.”

A leadership convention will be held later this year. Labchuk said at least one individual has already indicated interest in running for the leadership.

An interim leader has been identified and will be announced soon.

 

Organizations: Green Party, Conservatives

Geographic location: Canada

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  • Hear Hear
    July 12, 2012 - 21:04

    "Thank you for your service" is so right. I do not follow politics and am neither right, left nor center, but I know we need more people like Sharon Labchuck speaking up for the environment on this little Island. She has done a tremendous job of heightening the awareness of ordinary people. Sharon is not afraid of saying what needs to be said to make positive change happen. She deserves an Order of PEI for her dedication to this place and for standing up and speaking loud when no one else had the courage to do it and almost everyone on the street, in government and in the media was against her. I think she is one of the most important agents of social change this Island has ever had.

  • Working Mom
    July 12, 2012 - 20:31

    Thank you Sharon for standing up for my children and their right to a safe and healthy home. Food without pesticides, water without nitrates and air without toxins remain elusive goals but I know were closer as a result of your efforts. Mr. Spudfarmer, you are part of the problem, Ms. Labchuk is part of the solution.

  • Mary
    July 12, 2012 - 17:25

    She went through my checkout before when I was a cashier. She wasn't very nice.

  • thank you for your service
    July 12, 2012 - 15:38

    Ms. Labchuk is to be commended for her service to the public by raising the innumerable environmental (and other) issues that have long been ignored in PEI. I'm a born and bred Islander and I know how ingrained Islanders can be, especially when they perceive criticism of someone ''from away'', but the fact of the matter is that she spoke the truth on all of these issues (fish kills, pesticides, nitrates, plan B, etc.) and she didn't sugarcoat it, unlike our sycophant good ol' boy politicians like Pat Binns or Robert Ghiz. Islanders don't like activists or people who stand out in the crowd. Ms. Labchuk was a controversial figure for that reason alone, long before she entered politics. I think that PEI history will serve her kindly and she has certainly made an impact by raising issues that were being ignored for far far far too long. It is now up to the thousands of Islanders who have been awakened to these problems to go the next step and lobby for real action.

  • it will take time to change
    July 12, 2012 - 15:33

    it was time for her to go,although the Green party will never see opposition let alone govt.. it is nice to have them around................The new regime I hope will understand the Island a little better, and try to see beyond the policy's of a party that can be radical at times . Nationally Elizabeth MAY is a legend in her own mind..we have a lot of issues in this country/province it will take time and patience to change them...I found they both pushed female issues more than environmental..Thank you for your service.

  • Ryan Jenkins Of Little Pond
    July 12, 2012 - 14:14

    Finally, some good political news. Maybe now the paper will stop reporting every outrageous complaint she makes.

  • sslulzahoy
    July 12, 2012 - 13:35

    Thanks for all the hard work! Unfortunately for Spudfarmer and Rightchoice, it seems she has been working on Green Party policy issues for the last 7 years and hardly any of the ones she was 'partial' to, according to this article. I feel you both may be quite displeased with what is to come in the future. Keep on keepin' on!

  • Timing is Everything
    July 12, 2012 - 13:26

    Sharon Labchuk can leave the party knowing she did all (& the best) she could during those years. Coming in 3rd is no small feat on this Island...and I wish her the best.

  • dudfarmer
    July 12, 2012 - 13:24

    Where she was a lone voice against Mr. Potato Head a few years ago, now there are thousands of decent law abiding Islanders tired of the abuse of our environment and destruction of our waterways - to feed the greed of Spudfarmers on PEI.

  • ItAintEasyBeingGreen
    July 12, 2012 - 12:12

    Thank you, Sharon, for taking the party as far as you have. I think you're making a wise decision now and I wish you the best. Keep fighting the good fight.

  • Marian White
    July 12, 2012 - 11:39

    Thanks Sharon for your dedicated work with the Green Party. You demonstrated that politicians can maintain integrity while working to accomplish their mandate. All the best with your future work. Islanders need Earth Action as it promotes our health concerns before profits.

  • Marian White
    July 12, 2012 - 11:30

    Thanks Sharon for your dedicated work with the Green Party. You demonstrated that politicians can maintain integrity while working to accomplish their mandate. All the best with your future work. Islanders need Earth Action as this group promotes our health concerns before profits.

  • josh
    July 12, 2012 - 10:53

    Sharon deserves the gratitude of all Islanders for her tireless work with the Green Party and as an activist. She's worked just as hard as any MLA, Cabinet Minister or public sector employee in this province over the years, all without the financial rewards and status that fuel most of our so-called public servants. Thanks Sharon, and keep up your good work!

  • RIGHT CHOICE
    July 12, 2012 - 09:37

    It was the right choice to step down. I suspect many more would have join the party if she had understood that all the issues of the people must be actioned not just the ones she is partial to. I fully understand her stand against polution however all the needs must be looked after, even the ones that might not be agreeable to some.

  • spudfarmer
    July 12, 2012 - 09:15

    Good best news i seen on here in years