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Who Is Jo-Ann Roberts? The New Green Party Leader Taking Over From Elizabeth May

As probably all of Canada knows by now, Elizabeth May has resigned as the Green Party leader. Taking over from the longtime leader is May's deputy, Jo-Ann Roberts. But just who is Jo-Ann Roberts?

On November 4, May announced her replacement at Parliament Hill as she stepped down after serving as leader since 2006. Her interim replacement, Roberts, has been serving as the Greens' deputy leader since March 2018, when she was appointed by May.

Roberts' background, though, is in media rather than politics, and she's actually an award-winning, veteran journalist.

As detailed on the Green Party website, Roberts began her career as a TV and radio reporter in Saint John, New Brunswick. She has been working across Canada as a host on CBC Radio for 20 years, split between a decade working for Information Morning in Moncton, New Brunswick, and another 10 years in Vancouver Island, British Columbia, as the host of the afternoon show. 

Roberts, who at 63 years old is two years younger than the departing May, is also something of an expert in the communications industry. She has also taught at the university level, also providing workshops on media literacy.

However, though she's worked in the media industry for quite some time, Roberts has had her fair share of experiences with politics in the past.

Roberts ran as the Green Party candidate in Victoria, B.C., during the 2015 federal election, where she ended up finishing in second place for the West Coast riding, according to CBC.

Since the last election, she has continued to work on issues such as climate change, housing, democratic reform, and income inequality, according to the Green Party website. 

Roberts' former employer CBC mentions that although Roberts still remains with the party, she didn't think she'd be active once again.

In fact, May convinced Roberts it was important for the party to try to continue to build on the momentum after a second provincial Green Party member was elected last November, according to the article.

Roberts subsequently ran for the Greens in Halifax this fall, ultimately losing to incumbent Andy Fillmore.

She said on Monday she is taking on the role reluctantly given May's legacy as leader of the Greens. "This is not a replacement for Elizabeth May," Roberts said. "I don't think anybody would be up for that job."

As an interim leader, Roberts will not be eligible to seek the job on a permanent basis in October 2020's leadership convention.

She will, however, be running the party for the next year or so, and May certainly seems to be sure she's chosen her temporary successor wisely.

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