Former federal Green Party leader and local MP Elizabeth May has self-isolated to help stop the spread of COVID-19. (Black Press Media File).

COVID-19: Former Green Party leader self-isolates, works from home, contemplates ukelele lessons

May is working remotely, calls for measure to help protect workers from economic effects of COVID-19

Local MP and former federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May has chosen to self-isolate.

Speaking to the Peninsula News Review from her home over the phone Monday morning, May said she chose to isolate herself after returning from Ottawa, where she and other parliamentarians Friday unanimously agreed to suspend parliament for five weeks to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

She cited among other reasons, that MPs frequently travel, spend time among crowds, and work in tight physical quarters. May later said that several of her parliamentary friends attended a Toronto mining industry conference, where at least one attendee later tested positive.

“It’s terribly important that we [MPs] do not become part of a public health crisis by virtue of our day-to-day life,” she said. “For me, I just knew that I shouldn’t be around any of my neighbours and friends in Sidney until I have been self-isolated for two weeks.”

RELATED: Popular Sidney aquarium closes over coronavirus

RELATED: Sidney restricts access to all municipal buildings

RELATED: Sidney Museum closes in wake of COVID-19 spread

When asked whether she weighed any specific piece of advice from public health officials, May said the most obvious one is the fact that people can carry the virus and be contagious, while being asymptomatic, that is not showing evidence of being sick. “That piece of information is really all you need to know for a person in my situation to know that I should stay away from everybody, until I am quite sure I am okay,” she said.

May, turns 66 in June, did not get a test, but said that she is feeling fine. “I’m just completely reclusive now, except that I have my husband [John Kidder, who is 72] and my dog,” she said.

Based on those ages, both May and Kidder fall into a higher risk category, so self-isolation also has an element of self-preservation. “I’m more concerned about others, frankly, but yes, of course, if either one of us became very ill and had flu-like symptoms, we would call first, make sure it’s appropriate to go [into a hospital],” she said.

This said, May said neither she nor her husband are particularly vulnerable. “Neither one of us have any underlying health issues or immunity problems, and so on,” she said. “I’m more concerned about the whole question for Canada right now.”

Canada, she said, is by no way out of the woods yet. Pointing to Italy, the situation can go off like a bomb. The more people self-isolate, the more people practice social-distancing, the better the country will be, she said. This said, restaurants and other public places drawing crowds will take a real hit, she said.

“There are a lot of things that we will miss and a lot of smaller businesses, non-profits and vulnerable workers will take an economic hit,” she said.

Using modern communication technologies, May still fills her time speaking with ministers, pressing for short-term relief measures to ensure workers stay home without suffering economic penalties. “It is all good and well to give the health advice to people like me, who have sick leave pay, to stay home,” she said. “But what about a single mom, who [is working as a waitress] and who has to keep working? We really need to make sure that we have the backs of every worker to make the public health advice stick.”

Ultimately, May predicts that Canada will find herself in a recession not unlike the one that coincided after the financial crisis of 2008, but also offered some positive news, in noting that the federal government is fiscally well-prepared.

May has also been working helping Canadians currently stuck outside Canada’s borders. Her office remains open with paid staff (but not volunteers) on site handling local business. Constituents are asked to call ahead.

When she is not working and ends up having a free moment, May said she plans to learn how to play the ukulele.

“My husband is interested in teaching me,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Five Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures, including another at Panorama Ridge

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

This Crescent Beach home, located at 12505 22 Ave., was subject of a police search warrant June 18. (Google image)
Civil Forfeiture Office alleges Crescent Beach home used to launder money

Court documents request the home, and $85,000 to be turned over to the government

Surrey firefighters battle a house fire near the 70A Avenue and 126A Street intersection early Sunday morning. According to a witness, it appears that the occupants were able to get out without injury. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Fire causes extensive damage to Surrey home

Occupants able to escape without injury: witness

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read