Parenteau pursuing NDP nomination

Troy Parenteau is running for the NDP nomination in Prince Albert Carlton. Photo courtesy Troy Parenteau

Troy Parenteau hopes to win the Prince Albert Carlton NDP race and take on the Sask. Party in 2020

A local teacher is hoping he can win the Prince Albert Carlton NDP nomination race and go on to take on Saskatchewan Party MLA Joe Hargrave.

This weekend, Troy Parenteau, who was born and raised in Prince Albert, announced his intention to run for the Prince Albert Carlton NDP in the 2020 provincial election.

Parenteau, who earned his Bachelor of Education degree in Prince Albert through SUNTEP, is currently working for the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division at the youth mental health and family treatment centre in the Victoria Hospital. Prior to that, he worked as a teacher at Riverside School for six years.

“Over the last six years or so, I’ve seen the Sask. Party make some pretty bad decisions, cuts that are affecting some of the most vulnerable in society,” he said.

“I wanted to put my name forward to stand up for Prince Albert in Regina.”

Parenteau said he felt the impacts of some of those cuts as a teacher in 2017.

“School divisions were seeing that money wasn’t going as far as it used to,” he said. “Some of the cuts that we saw affected special programs and vulnerable children in the classroom.”

After winning the Sask. Party leadership race in January, Premier Scott Moe announced $30 million in restored funding for education. Critics, though, have said that’s not enough to make up for the $54 million cut from school division funding in the 2017-18 budget.

Parenteau isn’t a newcomer to the local political scene. He has volunteered with the Prince Albert Carlton NDP, serving as the riding association’s president and organizing fundraising events such as the Carlton Classic golf tournament and Tommy Douglas Day. He said he had been mulling over the idea as running as a candidate for at least the last year.

While, so far, Parenteau is the only person to publicly announce their intentions to run for the Prince Albert Carlton NDP, at least one other has expressed interest. Parenteau, though, thinks his experience volunteering in the community gives him an edge.

“I’ve been volunteering in the community since my early 20s,” he said.

“I think the work ethic I bring along with me is really going to show through as a strong representative for Prince Albert.”

In addition to his work with the riding association, Parenteau has volunteered with the Prince Albert Community Players, the Prince Albert and Area Teachers’ Association as chair of the collective bargaining committee, Prince Albert Pride Committee, Early Childhood Education Council, Prince Albert Indian and Métis Friendship Centre board and Urban Aboriginal Strategy Steering Committee. While at Riverside School he helped create the Riverside Aboriginal Arts Festival.

Parenteau believes his work as a teacher will also help inform his campaign.

“As a teacher, you’re working in the community,” he said.

“You’re working with families. In the program I’m working in currently, I’m working with people from all across the province. It gives me a good perspective of what’s going on around me and what needs to be done.”

Should he be successful, Parenteau would go up against Sask. Party MLA, cabinet minister and incumbent Joe Hargrave. Parenteau, though, is confident his party can win.

“We’ve seen the Saskatchewan NDP really rise up in the polls. We just finished winning three by-elections since the general election back in 2016,” he said.

“We are really strong right now and confident that we can win Prince Albert Carlton back.”

The next provincial election is scheduled for October 26, 2020. The Prince Albert Carlton riding has been held by the Saskatchewan Party since 2007. Darryl Hickie held the seat, followed by Hargrave.

Prior to 2007, it was held by Myron Kowalsky and the NDP.

In the last election, Hargrave won 54.81 per cent of the vote, with NDP candidate Shayne Lazarowich taking 41.11 per cent.