Green party back on Alberta's political scene
After a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, the Alberta green party is back on the political scene.
The EverGreen Party of Alberta was registered by Elections Alberta on Dec. 22, filling the void left by the de-registration of the Green Party of Alberta in 2009.
“We are ready to go,” said interim leader Larry Ashmore. “We have matured and it is now time for a green message that makes sense to Albertans.”
The organization circulated a provincial petition with a mandate to secure just over 7,000 signatures and ended up with 8,500, meeting the requirements to form a party.
The new party has received endorsement from Elizabeth May, an MP and head of the Green Party of Canada.
According to Ashmore, the new party is linked philosophically with the federal green party and green parties in eight other provinces. All of those parties have six fundamental principles in common: ecological wisdom, non-violence, participatory democracy, respect for diversity, social justice and sustainability.
“We are in the loop, we are back on the map in Alberta,” said Ashmore.
“At this point we have a whole lot of work in front of us.”
The party is expecting a provincial election between March and May and is hoping to elect a leader and find candidates for at least 50 ridings in preparation.
Ashmore said the party’s platform and policy haven’t been solidified yet, but he is expecting a general meeting of members to elect a leader and executive, endorse a constitution and establish policy.
Nick Burman, the president of the new party, said the party will likely use the old Alberta green policy and platform as a starting point.
“We are going to massage it to be more Albertan,” he said.
Burman added he believes the party will be well received.
“I personally believe if you take almost any Albertan outside the political ideology, I think a lot of them are really green at heart,” said Burman.
Personally, Ashmore said he would like to see candidates visit the oil sands in Fort McMurray.
“We have to get up there and meet people who work there, get the latest update on new technologies and find out the industry side of things,” he said.
Ashmore said he would like to bring more attention to a lack of water testing in the oil sands region and find solutions to the environmental problems associated with the resource, including the American pushback to the proposed Keystone Pipeline project.
“There are a lot of issues there that we can approach,” said Ashmore. “I would like to get our candidates up there and get our boots dirty.”
Real solutions to the problem of water and air pollution can be found, Ashmore added.
“There is a positive side to all of these (problems),” he said. “There are solutions. We are going to be the little party that says there are things we can do.”
“Whenever companies have tried to reduce their footprint they have proven more profitable,” he said. “It creates more employment and profitability.”
Burman said the province could become a leader in green energy.
“The science and engineering exists to do it,” he said. “We just need the political will.”
Ashmore, who will be running in the southwest Alberta riding of Livingstone-Macleod the home riding of Agriculture Minister Evan Berger, said he would also like to tackle democratic reform and look at ways to make the Alberta economy less dependant on the oil and gas industry.
Ashmore, a carpenter, said the party is seeking interested candidates to run across the province.
“This is the call out now,” he said. “Alberta has had pretty good Green support. We were polling at eight per cent and we didn’t even have a party.”