Election 2019: Greens off and running

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

People at the June 15 Green Party nomination meeting in Slave Lake received bumper stickers, but joked about the risk of putting them on their cars.

“Environmentalists aren’t the enemy,” says event co-organizer Jule Asterisk. “Actually, we’re trying to make sure all of us have a future.”
Asterisk, of Slave Lake, and Peter Nygaard of Joussard are the two nominees competing to be the Green Party candidate for the Peace River – Westlock Riding in the federal election anticipated for the fall of 2019.

They spoke with Green Party members and potential members at a meeting on June 15 at the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre.

Nygaard was born in Fort McMurray. His family moved to Faust when he was two or three years old. He was raised in Joussard and attended junior high and high school in High Prairie.

Nygaard studied one year of accounting in Edmonton and graduated from NAIT with a journeyman ticket in plumbing. For 10 years, he and his wife, Shahla, toured the world on bicycles.

A few years ago, they returned to Joussard to write and publish a book called Decade of Discovery.

Nygaard is owner and operator of a plumbing and gas fitting business in Joussard.

Voters may recognize Asterisk’s name from the 2011 election, when she ran for the Green Party.

“I won the debate, but lost the election,” she says.

Asterisk moved to Faust in 1992. She lived in Mexico for a while, then moved back in ‘96. In December 2000, she started as the regional landfill manager at the Lesser Slave Regional Landfill.

Asterisk moved to Slave Lake in February 2001. She was on the team that brought recycling to Slave Lake.

Asterisk helped start Alberta Culture Days.

Before the 2011 fire, she was the program coordinator and housing first coordinator at the Friendship Centre. She set up the Mat Program. She also worked in Slave Lake as a literacy learning program coordinator. Currently, Asterisk is the project manager at Keepers of the Athabasca.

Nygaard chose the Green Party because it represents everything he believes could help people and the world recover from too much production and not enough foresight.

While cycling around the world, he and his wife went through many places which seemed uninhabitable. People were living there, but a slight shift and they would have to move elsewhere.

All of us should work together, Nygaard says. The Green Party is focused on that.

The Green Party aims to limit environment and health impact, Asterisk says. Albertans are told pipelines create jobs, but the proposed pipeline will create just 60 jobs.

The focus should be on remediation of spent oil wells, she says. There are around 100,000 in Alberta. Companies sign lease agreements and agree to remediate, but haven’t.

“Nobody, including the Green Party, is saying shut down the oil sands,” Asterisk says, “but we don’t have capacity at this point in time, to continue to expand them. Bitumen is not oil. As a liquid, it is highly dangerous. The Green Party proposes moving it as a solid.”

The meeting on June 15 went well, Nygaard says. Those in attendance discussed benefits of becoming a member.

Green Party membership is a move toward truer democracy, he says, since Green Party members can participate in policy making. Every member can vote on policy. Members have the option to write their own policy, to be considered by the majority.

The nomination meeting was good, Asterisk says. There was good discussion. Four new members signed-up, five people took forms home to consider, and one agreed to be a monthly donor.

On August 3, 2019, Green Party members vote to choose between Asterisk and Nygaard. The vote will be at Asterisk’s place and via Zoom video conferencing.

After this vote, the Green Party candidate will begin campaigning for the federal election.

Jule Asterisk
Peter Nygaard

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