Elizabeth May is urging members of Parliament to take a page from Canada’s smallest province when it comes to celebrating love and honouring loss.
The Green Party leader rose in the House of Commons Monday for a member’s statement — a one-minute speech — before question period.
“I booked this member’s statement with the sole purpose of saying to all my friends in this place that I’ve now been happily married for a whole week,” May said with a smile, scoring applause. “And they said it wouldn’t last.”
The 64-year-old Green leader tied the knot in Victoria, B.C. last week with John Kidder, a retired technology entrepreneur. They were wed on Earth Day, of course.
But days before she walked down the aisle, a tragedy rocked P.E.I. Josh Underhay, a teacher and Green candidate in that province’s election, died in a canoe accident with his six-year-old son, Oliver.
The Island’s Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker said the reaction from political parties on the Island — the way they all paused campaign events in Underhay’s honour — proved that “community comes before partisan interests.”
It was a touching moment in a provincial campaign that was heralded for its cordiality.
“It’s hard sometimes to hold in your heart more happiness than you’ve known and at the same time grieving,” May said.
“But it is possible for us in this place to be more like Prince Edward Islanders. To gather together, to celebrate love and grief, and to be more civil to one another as we go into this election.”
May invited MPs to a “small party” Monday night with her new husband.
Liberal MP Sean Casey, who represents the riding of Charlottetown, also paid tribute to Underhay and his son.
“In his final days, Josh campaigned as a candidate in the P.E.I. election for the only reason one should: to make his community better,” Casey said. “Josh and Oliver have left a gaping hole in the hearts of so many.”