For South Peace News
Incumbent Peace River-Westlock Conservative MP Arnold Viersen won’t have to wait around to find out if anybody opposes him in the upcoming federal election set for Sept. 20.
As of Aug. 18, when he issued his press release, four other candidates had also declared their intentions (according to daveberta.ca).
They are Darryl Boisson for the People’s Party of Canada, Gail Ungstad for the NDP, Leslie Penny for the Liberal Party and Colin Krieger for the Maverick Party.
Ungstad has lived several decades in Slave Lake and has had various roles in NDP at the constituency level.
She worked for the Alberta government as a social worker and has a private counselling practice.
Ungstad says she retired from her government job so she could run in the election.
Penny is a Town of Barrhead councillor, who has three times run before for the Liberal Party (once federally and twice provincially).
In the 2019 federal election, she finished third, just behind the NDP candidate and a long way behind the victorious Viersen.
Krieger is a Valleyview resident.
The biography on the party website says he is a small business owner and a contract operator in the oilpatch.
He’ll be campaigning in Slave Lake on Aug. 31, meeting, greeting and answering questions at a ‘town hall’ at the curling rink.
The Maverick Party, for those unfamiliar, started out as the ‘Wexit’ Party before changing its name. Its interim leader is former B.C. Peace Country Conservative MP Jay Hill.
The Mavericks want a better deal for Western Canada, and apparently think Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives won’t deliver it.
However, according to the Wikipedia article on the party, Hill has vowed the Mavericks won’t contest ridings where there is a decent possibility of a Liberal or NDP candidate winning.
That way, the conservative vote won’t be split to the detriment of the right-wing parties.
As for Boisson, voters in the area should know him, due to his previous candidacy provincially for the Wild Rose.
He’s a farmer, oilfield contractor and trapper and lifelong resident of the High Prairie area.
The People’s Party of Canada features former Conservative cabinet minister Maxime Bernier as its national leader.
Bernier formed the party after losing out to Andrew Scheer in the 2017 Conservative Party of Canada leadership race.
The party is generally seen as being on the right (even far right) of the political spectrum, but Bernier rejects the label, describing the PPC rather as being in favour of freedom vs the lack thereof.
It has also been described as ‘libertarian.’
Watch for candidate profiles in upcoming issues of the South Peace News.