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Green Party Leader Elizabeth May hospitalized for fatigue and stress, husband says

Green Party leadership candidate Elizabeth May speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Sept. 29, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick Green Party leadership candidate Elizabeth May speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Sept. 29, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
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Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, was hospitalized last week due to what her husband describes as fatigue, overwork and stress, according to a weekly update to her constituents.

May's husband John Kidder wrote in the update Monday that May "spent a few days under observation" at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital, north of Victoria.

"She was discharged on Saturday morning to come home and keep resting for a bit to restore her much-depleted energy," Kidder said.

"Does it not seem odd to you that we expect our parliamentarians to work double shifts through May and June, sometimes 19-hour days, to sit until midnight almost every day, to keep up with their always demanding constituency work, and still to have minds at all?"

Kidder went on to say that neither he nor May, who has served as a Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands since 2011, has a family doctor.

He said the couple has been relegated – like so many in British Columbia – to waiting to receive primary health care in an emergency room or calling around to walk-in clinics before they fill up for the day.

Saanich Peninsula Hospital, where May was admitted, announced last week that its emergency department would close overnight for the next two months due to a shortage of staff.

"This reduction in overnight service hours will ensure physician, nursing, laboratory technicians and medical imaging staff are available during the hours of highest patient demand," the Vancouver Island Health authority said in a statement Thursday.

"We acknowledge this is not an ideal situation for the community and we sincerely apologize for this temporary service reduction," said Marko Peljhan, the health authority's vice-president of clinical services for the region.

The overnight closure, one of several to hit Vancouver Island emergency rooms in recent months, was partially responsible for triggering a protest by the B.C. Nurses Union outside Victoria General Hospital on Sunday.

The union says a shortage of nurses, an aging population and increased patient-care needs have brought "untenable conditions," to the island's hospitals.

"Nurses at Victoria General Hospital say they are morally distressed with what they are seeing unfold on almost every shift," said BCNU vice-president Adriane Gear in a statement.

May, 69, will return to writing her constituency updates herself next week, said Kidder, who is a founder of the Green Party of B.C.

"We've seen anew the dedication, smarts and caring devotion of nurses, attendants, porters, techs, doctors, administrators, and all the wonderful people who staff our health system, working hours like Elizabeth’s with even more personal stress, and sticking to their oaths to serve us," Kidder said.

"Such wonderful people. Such a messed up system."

May served as the Green leader from 2006 until she stepped down in 2019, only to regain the role again last year.

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