Talk:Elizabeth May/Archive 1

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POV Check

I seriously think this article needs an NPOV check. While I don't see any problems, I'm almost certain they exist here. Ardenn 06:27, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Reviewed and edited to conform to WP:NPOV. —GrantNeufeld 09:45, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

am i the only wikipedian who sees serious problems with the sentence "While I don't see any problems, I'm almost certain they exist here" ... ? Lotusland

No, you're not the only one, I scratched my head over that one too. It's not the most helpful comment I've ever seen. -Will Beback 08:02, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Yeh, I'm going to have to write that one down. Perhaps next time I'm marking papers, I'll use it and see what blowback ensues!

Ardenn's instincts are correct. This article is rife with POV problems and with unsourced, inaccurate statements. Where assertions are sourced, the sources are too often press releases or puff pieces by admiring reporters. Ms. May is a gifted publicist with many passionate followers. Prior to her entry into politics, she got gentle treatment from the media despite lots of controversy around her actions. As a result, her biolgraphical material should be approached with caution.

A few examples of problems with this article: Ms. May's mother, Stephanie, was an anti-nuclear activist, but not a prominent one. Given that Ms. May spent only one or two terms at Smith College in Northhampton, Massachusetts, and three years at Dalhousie Law School in Halifax, Nova Scotia, it's doubtful that she spent "11 years waiting on tables to put herself through university." The claim that her family "suffered a reversal of fortune due directly to involvement in protest against an environmental abuse" is false, and a violation of NPOV. The paragraphs about her interactions with Prime Minister Paul Martin and Finance Minister Ralph Goodale are hard to follow. A sentence like, "May rallied and repeated her conversion feat" is inappropriate. Phrases like, "May, who is a Christian, further stated her personal views," are less than taut. There is no mention of the allegations of campaign funding irregularities against Ms. May during the Green Party Leadership campaign, or of the subsequent decision of the electoral commission.

The truth is, as usual, more nuanced and more interesting than the official bio. The article makes no mention of May's religious studies, or the fact that she considered becoming an Anglican priest prior to running for the Green Party leadership. There is no mention of the controversy over whether her actions delayed the cleanup of the Sydney Tar Ponds, and no mention of her campaiging for Liberals in the 2006 federal election campaign (during which the Sierra Club of Canada board made her take a leave of absence). The timing of her receipt of the Order of Canada just prior to this campaign also deserves note. Serial Comma 11:30, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Clean up

I re-added the clean up tag as the article doesn't seem to comform to the Manual of Style. Ardenn 17:49, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

I've performed cleanup for the article and would like to remove the tag. I've also sourced most of the citations but am still looking for one or two more. Comments? --Suttungr 17:34, 4 June 2006 (UTC)


Should this be re-named to Elizabeth May (politician) or something else even? Ardenn 18:09, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Presumably she is still an enviornmentalist. BTW, the other Elizabeth May is an athlete from Luxemburg. WE could call this one "Elizabeth May (Canada)". -Will Beback 20:00, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
She is better known as an environmentalist than a politician. If she ever gets elected, then maybe. --Suttungr 14:28, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

I think it should be renamed to (politician) now that she is GPC leader. Think about it... if you mention her name to someone who has heard of her, do you think they will say "oh, you mean the environmentalist?" or "oh, you mean the Green Party leader?".Wolfchild 22:10, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

I also think it should be renamed. She is the fifth biggest party leader, that is now the most notable thing about her. --Arctic Gnome 16:52, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Hunger strike—unsuccessful?

I reverted the edit yesterday by (talk · contribs) which referred to May’s 2001 hunger strike (currently paragraph 5 of the History section) as “unsuccessful”. The use of that term by itself is POV. For it to be not POV, you would need to cite who consider's it unsuccessful and/or by what measure of success it is being deemed to have failed (e.g., something like “Her hunger strike was seen by Person/Group X as being unsuccessful in leading to the desired clean up.(citation)”). —GrantNeufeld 19:18, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

The text now says:
  • In 2001, May went on a 17 day hunger strike to protest the government's failure to clean up the Sydney tar ponds in Cape Breton. As a result the Federal government pledged to relocate people living nearby to a safer location.[1]
That makes it appear to have been sucessful (htough one can always argue that the government action wasn't due to her hunger strike). Due to other edits, I think "unsuccessful" may have been added as a reference to her weight, rather than her politicla achievements. -Will Beback 17:42, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
Does she look like she lost weight based on the hunger strike? Ardenn 17:53, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
The hunger strike had nothing to do with her body weight. It was a political action. Success or lack thereof can only be measured by any political outcomes (or lack thereof) that can be tied to her action. —GrantNeufeld 18:18, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

I've never seen a vandalism edit become permanent before this. The initial edit that I removed phrased it sarcastically: "As you can see by the picture, the strike had considerable impact on May's physique". It is easy to miss but one must remember that the hunger strike and the photograph happened five years apart. One can't seriously expect the effects to last so long. I can only assume that detail was overlooked because I missed it myself initially. I can't otherwise see why a reputable editor like Ardenn would support this inclusion. --JGGardiner 18:48, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Sarcastic references to Ms. May's weight obviously have no place in a Wikipedia bio. However, wry allusions of this sort reflect a real issue that should be noted in the hunger strike section. The rules of the hunger strike gave rise to skepticism about its rigor. During the strike, Ms. May limited her fasting by openly drinking Gatorade. She stationed herself in front of the Parliament Building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but at 5 each evening, she went home for the night, explaining that she had to care for her daughter. Did she maintain the limited fast while out of the public eye? Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows? We have only her word for it. Those who take her word as gospel will be sure she did. Those who believe she often twists the truth will suspect otherwise. This difference of opinion goes to the heart of what NPOV is about. Serial Comma 12:48, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

In their edit comments, (talk · contribs) makes the implication that my involvement with the Green Party must mean that my edits to the article must be POV. So, I feel obliged to explain the particular edit.'s addding the text "Her hunger strike was unsuccessful" to her photo is inappropriate because:

  • The hunger strike is far from the most significant aspect of her life, so doesn't need to be represented in such a prominent position.
  • The photo has nothing to do with her hunger strike, which occurred years earlier.
  • It is non-encyclopedic to refer to the hunger strike as unsuccessful without clarifying by what criteria it is considered unsuccessful (particularly since there are also criteria by which it may also be considered as having been successful).
  • The inclusion of the text with her photo is clearly intended as an insult regarding her body weight.

Any of those reasons is sufficient to strike the text from inclusion with the photo in the article without having to make any POV statements. —GrantNeufeld 15:05, 15 July 2006 (UTC)


I requested and received semi-protection for this page due to the recent spate of vandalism. I suggested that it be retained until after the Green Party leadership convention. Semi-protection only bars anonymous users from editing. It still allows regular editors to update. --Atrian 19:15, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

The convention is in August. I honestly cannot say that it should stay semi-protected that long. Besides, if someone really wants to vandalize, all they have to do is register, and make a few edits. Ardenn 19:22, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
I've requested that it be unprotected. Ardenn 19:24, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
I'd rather see it remain protected for a day or two to try to discourage the vandal(s?). —GrantNeufeld 19:57, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Grant, you don't have any POV/conflict of interest, being head of a provincial Green Party and all. Or is that stuff justy for right-wingers? 21:05, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

And Ardenn, who says on his user page: "Is a member of the Green Party of Canada, and believes that David Chernushenko is the best choice for leader." Now, why would anyone get the idea that these two are very interested in preserving the POV of this article? 21:08, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

What does that have to do with the disputed edits? Let's discus the content, not the contributors. -Will Beback 22:59, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

POV needs to be addressed. There are rules...Marie Tessier

The POV of edits needs to be addressed, not the POV of editors. The editorial matter is why someone would add the text "The hunger strike was unsuccessful" when the evidence is that it was successful. No one has contradicted her success. Can you defend the edit? If not, there's nothing to discuss. -Will Beback 03:00, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Let's try to keep a cool head, and assume good faith. Ardenn 03:08, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Quit accusing me of making a persobal attack. I simply noted a fact: that this entry has primarily been written and edited by Green Party activists. 04:15, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Then you are welcome to fix and re-write the article. Just make sure to cite your sources and ensure everything you include is verified. Ardenn 04:21, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
Just to add my 2 cents in... I cleaned this article up about a month ago and added references for all but one of the statements. I am not a Green Party member, nor have I ever voted for same. I just like to clean articles up and this one needed it. 'nough said. --Suttungr 04:32, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

And if the Green Party gatekeepers don't like what you say, they will, of course, revert you. Welcome to the New Fascism. 12:09, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Revisit NPOV check?

Despite the excellent NPOV work that's been done on this article already, I still have trouble with some of the vaguer positive statements. Can we find more specifics, one or two more citations, and do a hearsay check? The bits that feel wobbly to me are:

Once in Cape Breton, her family suffered a reversal of fortune due directly to involvement in protest against an environmental abuse.

Without more specifics here, this sentence feels as if it was designed less to convey facts than to cast May and folks as martyred heroes. I'm sure they are! But in the interest of being encyclopedic we really should have those specifics.

May rallied and repeated her conversion feat... Goodale announced "the greenest budget ever" with May at his side...

Seems inappropriate to congratulate May so much without a very rich citation... The citation provided for this section doesn't say anything about the actual extent of May's influence over Goodale, and indeed mentions her only to quote her.

She was the person, reputedly, who invited Clinton and convinced him to come.


Ho Pan Yao 09:40, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

I definitely don't like the "due directly to..." line, it is hardly NPOV and needs a citation as well. Padraic

Requested move

Now that she is the leader of the Green Party of Canada, May is more notable than that athlete and should have the main name space. --GreenJoe 16:40, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

  • Agreed. I support the move. Atrian 09:37, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

It's been moved. —Cuiviénen 16:16, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Spelling of Daughter's Name

May's daughter's name is Victoria Cate, not Victoria-Cate. This has been changed. Monkeyfinger 03:53, 22 October 2006 (UTC)


What does it mean that she "has a home in Margaree Harbour, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia"? Does she live there? Does she own a piece of property? I don't know what that means. I would hope that isn't an attempt to demonstrate her fitness to run in a Nova Scotia riding. I also don't like that New Edinburgh, which I'd removed before, is included. As I said in my edit summary, NE is just a neighbourhood in Ottawa. So the link really adds nothing besides being unsourced and will one day become untrue without our knowing it. --JGGardiner 17:53, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

It is true that people do move around. I don't think it's a big thing. Federal politicians tend to keep two addresses, one for Ottawa and one for their home town. So maybe the Nova Scotia address should be more appropriate to list and say that the Ottawa address is just her temporary residence. Atrian 23:28, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
In terms of her principle residence, Ms May has been remarkably stable. She has lived in Ottawa continuously since she began working for then-Environment Minister Tom MacMillan in (I think) 1984. That's 23 years in the same city. It would be misleading to call this a temporary residence. She has family in Nova Scotia -- a brother and her father -- and she apparently owns property there. But she lived in Cape Breton as her princial residence for only a few years in the late 70s and early 80s. Her official bio and her public statements frequently emhpasize her connection to Cape Breton, and claim it as her "home." Some critics in Cape Breton believe she trades on this connection because the island's totemistic quality lends something to her image. Serial Comma 12:48, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
I know that many parliamentarians do that but May is not one yet. A few months ago she wasn't even a politician. In any event, I've done some looking and I'm quite certain that she does not live in Margaree Harbour but had as a child and her family continues to. If somebody has a source on that, I'd be happy to see it. So I'm removing Margaree and New Edinburgh again. I know it's a small thing but why risk including false information on WP for a small thing? --JGGardiner 18:01, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
You need to look harder. I found both addresses at Nova Scotia residence: Margaree Harbour, NS B0E 2B0. Ottawa residence: 22 Rideau Terr, Ottawa, ON K1M 2A1. Atrian 21:21, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
First of all, you probably shouldn't publish May's address, or indeed anyone's address, on Wikipedia. Second, I'm uneasy using a phonebook as a source. How do you know that those Mays are indeed this May? For example, there are no "Elizabeth Mays" listed in Ottawa, only "E Mays". How do you know which of two listed is her, if any? Even if the assumption is correct, I think that this would constitute an [[WP:NOR|NOR] problem. You can't make assumptions, even if they are good ones. Is that the only source that there is? --JGGardiner 21:51, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
Not that it should be published in the article, but that is in fact her correct address. I happen to be well-acquainted with her daughter. Monkeyfinger 04:22, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
The point I was trying to make is that the information is readily available. I propose that the page say that her home address is in Margaree harbour but she lives in Ottawa as part of her Green Party leadership duties. Atrian 03:41, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
The phonebook entry isn't good enough for me and I don't think that it is really good enough for WP either. But if you want to keep it I won't fight it. Although I would appreciate it if somebody could find a real source that confirms that. But I think that if one address is her prime address it is Ottawa. Her residence there predates her time as leader or indeed her membership with the party. As I understand it, she has been living there since the 1980s. I don't think that she commuted to her job as Sierra Club director from Nova Scotia. --JGGardiner 18:16, 24 October 2006 (UTC)


She was born and raised in Connecticut. Does anyone happen to know whether she is still an American citizen? --Saforrest 20:55, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

2006 Green Party result in Central Nova

I think it is relevant and topical to this article that May chose a riding with negligible past Green Party support. There was considerable talk of May running in Ottawa (where she lives) before she settled on Central Nova. The Greens received 7.5% of the vote in Ottawa Centre in 2006, which was one of their highest percentages in Ontario (and highest raw vote total at 6,766). The Greens also received 5% of the vote in Ottawa West—Nepean, where May could have run against Environment Minister John Baird, which would have made some sense. For that matter, if May was after the best chance of winning she could have parachuted into a B.C. riding like Saanich—Gulf Islands where the Party took 10% of the vote in 2006 (and almost 17% in 2004). But instead she chose Central Nova, a riding where the Party's vote was almost nonexistent before. If she's able to make a significant improvement, that would reflect well on her as leader. If she's not, this may have been a strategic blunder. Either way, it's noteworthy. Robbie dee 01:00, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

It's not relevant, and people can go to the article on Central Nova to check up on it if they really want. GreenJoe 02:44, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
My feeling is that it is probably decent analysis and I quite agree with it. But it doesn't belong in an encyclopedia article about May. I think that we should talk about what she has done and not what she has not. And besides, if she only wanted to get elected she should have joined a bigger party. =) --JGGardiner 05:19, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
I appreciate both of your comments, however I do note that in other political articles we include analysis of other parties' and leaders' political decisions and prospects for achieving their goals. I mean, politics is their job - it's what their noteworthy for - so it should also be noteworthy whether or not they are good at it. I tried to briefly put some of my above analysis into the article itself. What do you think? Better or worse? (I also corrected the spelling of "Foreign Affairs, which I think we all can agree on). Robbie dee 13:02, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
That sort of analysis violates WP:NOR. GreenJoe 15:12, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
It's not an original observation, it's been made in several media sources and by May herself. See e.g. James Rusk, "May vs. MacKay," Globe and Mail 3/19/07:

In an interview after she announced her candidacy at an Antigonish café, Ms. May acknowledged that "there are some ridings where I have a much better shot, quite candidly." While polling showed that she would have had a better chance of winning in some B.C. ridings or in London North Centre, where she ran second in a by-election, she said these would have been expedient choices. "But I really didn't feel very good about choosing a riding based on my best chance, as opposed to where I felt I most belonged," said Ms. May, whose Nova Scotia roots are across the Canso Strait in Cape Breton Island.

Also, the election results in 2006 are a matter of public record. I could drop a link to the Globe and Mail article if you think it would be helpful, but I really don't think Rusk and May's observations are unique, they are almost self-evident. Likewise, I could drop a link to the Elections Canada results to support the statement the Greens "received less than 2% of the vote" in Central Nova in 2006, but those results are already available in the Central Nova article wikilinked earlier in the same section. Robbie dee 19:28, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
I actually don't feel that it is NOR. If anything it is a problem with NPOV in weighting. If we point out the problems in her decision without showing the counter-arguments, which are obviously there, we are essentially saying that she made a bad decision. If we do show the counter arguments, we'd be devoting way too much space to an already long section on her choice of riding in one election. --JGGardiner 21:05, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
Just to revisit this discussion, I think in light of the fact that the 40th federal election will be May's first as party leader, and further in light of the tremendous media attention paid to her subsequent noncompete deal with Dion (I don't know if this is the first time it has happened in Canadian federal politics, but it is definitely rare and noteworthy), I think the weighting of this section compared to others seems appropriate, at least for now. That may change in time as other events overtake this one, but then we can always edit it down later. Robbie dee 15:29, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

US Kyoto Talks

Says that 2005 Montreal UNCCC was the first time the US agreed to talks on climate change. Not sure what this wording means, but its certainly false if it means the US had refused to enter into Climate Change negotiations in the past. In fact, the US is a signatory to Kyoto, they just have yet to ratify it. They never had any intention to as the senate had voted 95-0 (preemptively, before VP Gore signed the Protocol) that the US would never agree to binding carbon limitations without participation from developing countries. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:02, 12 April 2007 (UTC).

GA failed

I have reviewed this article according to the GA criteria. I have decided to fail the article since many things should be fixed to bring it up to GA quality. Examples include:

  1. There should be an infobox added if available. See if there is an infobox pertaining to her field.
  2. Expand and better develop the lead. It should better summarize the rest of the article. See WP:Lead for information.
  3. The first line in the early life section mentions affluent parents. However, no mention of her father is made, only the mother is discussed. Consider also removing affluent.
  4. Remove prestigious from the first paragraph in the early life section, may be construed as POV.
  5. "May waited on tables for eleven years to put herself through university." Reword to something else such as "May waited on tables for eleven years to assist in paying for her education costs at the university."
  6. The second paragraph has each sentence starting with "She". Change some of the sentences to add some variety.
  7. There are several sentences that stand alone in some of the sections throughout the article. They should be expanded upon or incorporated into other articles.
  8. For inline citations, they should go directly after the punctuation in a statement.
  9. The inline citations should also be formalized. At the bottom of the article in the References section, several errors can be seen and some are not formatted correctly such as 4-7 and 28-32.
  10. The awards section shouldn't just be a list, try explaining the significances of some of the awards.

These are some of the bigger problems that I noticed. Once you have addressed these, consider getting a peer review or just have another editor look the article over for a proper copyedit. Then, look over the GA criteria before renominating again. Keep up the good work, and continue to improve the article. If you have any questions, let me know on my talk page and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. If you don't agree with this review, see Wikipedia:Good article review. --Nehrams2020 06:35, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

I stumbled upon this while I was wandering around and would like to add that if you want to do the refs manually (which is my preference also) see Tourette syndrome or Michael Jordan for two examples of manual ref articles that are formatted properly. Note the order that information comes in for web or news articles: author, external link piped into article name, publisher, publication date, access date. Book refs are formatted differently. Just try to use those two as examples as they've been scrutinized thoroughly and have ideal ref formatting systems. If you prefer you could always use templates I find them ungainly to work with and cumbersome but if filled out properly they make refs consistent. Good luck getting to GA in the future.

Quadzilla99 06:48, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Michael Jordan might be the beter example for your article as it uses more web refs, while the Tourette's article more book refs. In either case good luck. Quadzilla99 06:50, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Controversial Statements

For the part, either put in the quotes of the other three leaders or leave them all out. Putting only one if them in is going against the NPOV. I'm taking out the quote by MacKay.

// We should also add that Jack Layton said he would never use that analogy, haha little but of irony there eh? 06:07, 6 July 2007 (UTC)


I've added further background on her court action against aerial spraying in Cape Breton during the late 1970s and early 1980s, her run for Parliament in 1980 and a couple notes on her move to Ottawa.--1weasel 03:19, 4 May 2007 (UTC)


I added an infobox but some of the fields don't exactly match. If someone can find a better template, feel free to change it. Atrian 16:17, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

  1. ^ Sierra Club news release on hunger strike