From 1986 to 1988, she worked as senior policy advisor to the minister of environment in the Mulroney government. From 1989 to 2006 she was the director of the Sierra Club. In 1996, she was awarded Outstanding Leadership in Environmental Education by the Ontario Society for Environmental Education.
In 2002, she received the Harkin Award from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS). By 2005, she had received the Order of Canada at the Officer level—our country’s highest citizen honour — awarded for her years of service in the environmental movement.
In 2006, the United Nations recognized her as one of the world’s leading female environmentalists. In 2006, Elizabeth was also presented with the prestigious Couchiching award for excellence in public policy.
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Among her accomplishments working as the MP for Saanich – Gulf Islands since 2011, she has sponsored several private member’s bills, including the Lyme Disease Act which both the House and Senate passed unanimously. Elizabeth regularly holds town hall meetings at different locations across her diverse riding. Her constituents eagerly attend, as she reports on House of Commons events, answers questions and listens compassionately to concerns – definitely doing politics differently.
She was the only MP in the 41st parliament to prevent the closing of a science centre in her riding—convincing the Harper administration to reverse their decision to close the Plant Health Sciences. This has brought tens of millions of dollars of federal investment into Saanich – Gulf Islands.
By a vote of all MPs, she was chosen as Maclean’s magazine’s 2012 Parliamentarian of the Year. In 2013, Hardest Working MP. In 2014, Best Orator. In both 2013 and 2014, The Hill Times declared her the Hardest Working MP, Best Constituency MP and Best Public Speaker.
By 2019, her second bill to become law – aka the “Free Willy Bill” – has made it illegal to keep whales and dolphins in captivity. She also conducted a nationwide Community Matters tour to meet with Canadians, hear their concerns, and represent our communities on the national stage.
In May of 2019, Elizabeth—together with her newly elected Green Colleague, Paul Manly— unveiled Mission: Possible – the Party’s clear, 20-step action plan to avert a climate catastrophe. Mission: Possible will re-establish Canada as a global leader – showing how a fossil fuel dependent country will successfully and supportively accomplish the end of this addiction.
Elizabeth’s work on Indigenous reconciliation has been vast, deep and consistent. She has succeeded in encouraging the House of Commons to agree to table 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with unanimous consent. On May 9th, 2019, she explained that voting for Bill C-91 was a collective moral responsibility to walk together on a path to truth, justice, love and reconciliation – a pledge and a promise to do more.
The Green Party of Canada, led by Elizabeth since 2006, has held firm to its vision and values. Establishment parties have only recently brought forward platform promises to address climate change—just in time for an election in which the climate insecurity will be major ballot box issue.
A person true to herself and her beliefs, she dares to take on the biggest challenges — not for her own benefit — but for us. Not because it is politically convenient, but because it is morally necessary. As she always demonstrates civility in the House of Commons, Ekos Research Associates currently ranks her the “most trusted political leader in Canada,” while a 2019 Nanos Research survey has ranked her “the most ethical among her counterparts.”