We presented every provincial election candidate in Prince Albert’s four regional ridings the same set of questions to help you decide who you will vote for, if you haven’t cast your ballot already. Here’s what they had to say. Answers have been edited for length, grammar and clarity. No Green Party candidates responded to the questionnaire.
Renee Grasby, Progressive Conservative
I currently work in the Insurance industry and have been for 5 years. Prior to that, I was an Ophthalmic Assistant to a prominent Eye Surgeon here in Prince Albert.
Why are you the best candidate?
As a female with a strong voice who is not afraid to use it, I am a great Candidate for the constituents. I am dedicated to standing up for what is right, and I will help the people of Prince Albert have their voice heard.
The top priority for me in this election, is holding the government accountable. I feel our PC party has an opportunity to be a strong opposition. We will keep the current government transparent, so as they claim.
Our party is opting for Anti-gang legislation and community support to develop strategies to reduce gang activity. With this reduction in place, we will see the crime rate start to come down.
We would like to end hallway healthcare by creating 1500 new long-term care beds over the next 5 years and add an additional $50 million in new support for Mental Health and Addiction Services.
When it comes to Education, we support the teachers. This will include putting a cap on classroom sizes which is critical in these times.
Why should people vote for me?
Voting for me means having a strong Female voice in the Legislature. A woman willing to use her voice for yours.
Joe Hargrave, Saskatchewan Party (incumbent)
I was born and raised a small farming community in Northeast Saskatchewan. I worked as a manager for BMO for 20 years and have owned and operated a business in Prince Albert for the past 20 years. In 2016, I ran and was elected the MLA for Prince Albert Carlton after years of community involvement with the Rotary Club and Board of Police Commissioners for Prince Albert. My wife Fran and I have four children and seven grandchildren.
Why are you the best candidate?
I have worked hard as the MLA for the people and the city of P.A., as well as for all the citizens of Saskatchewan as a cabinet minister. Prior to elected politics, I operated a successful business in P.A. for many years and in my free time was able to get involved in various community committees and boards. I have always strongly believed that if you want to make a difference, you have to get involved. That is why I have always been involved in the community and why I chose to put my name forward to represent the people of Prince Albert Carlton in the Legislative Assembly.
The top priority in this election is the economy and which party is best to lead our province in the economic recovery from the pandemic. That is why we put forward a plan will strengthen the economy, create jobs and make life more affordable for everyone. The NDP have put forward a platform with a $2.7 billion deficit, but missed $4 billion in costing for a host of promises they have made. This would be a disaster for our province. We have put forward a plan to balance the budget, which is how we ensure our children can enjoy this great province for generations to come.
I believe addressing crime requires a two-tiered approach. First, we have to work on the root causes of crime and second, we have to ensure there are sufficient police resources to deal with gangs and the illegal drug trade. We know that poverty is often a root case of crime and I believe that economic opportunity and education are keys to addressing poverty. This is why our party has focused on things like improving high school graduation rates and strengthening our economy so that young people have the tools and the opportunity they need to succeed.
At the same time, we have invested over $169 million in targeted municipal policing initiatives, such as Internet Child Exploitation Units and Integrated Crime Reduction Teams to help combat gangs and drug trafficking. More than 350 police officers have been added to Saskatchewan cities and communities, resulting in an overall reduction in crime of over 14 per cent since 2007.
We have made significant investments in mental health across the province, as well as housing specifically for the most vulnerable in Prince Albert. We have built 49 housing units for the most vulnerable and 12 homes for Habitat for Humanity. The Saskatchewan Party government created and implemented the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program in 2009 to provide income support and a greater choice of services for individuals with disabilities.
SAID benefits have increased four times since its creation and over $1.8 billion has been invested into the program. There is more work to do of course but I believe we are on the right track and these are the types of investments you will see continue to grow under a Saskatchewan Party government.
Our party has made substantial investments and commitments for the health sector in Prince Albert and area. We have committed more than $300 million dollars for the renewed and expanded Victoria hospital, which will have an increase in beds from 173 to approximately 242, a larger emergency department, a helipad and enhanced medical imaging services, including an MRI. As well, we have provided operating funding of $2 million dollars for the Rose Garden Hospice. Health care is a priority for our government, having increased the health budget by 67 per cent since 2007.
Our party has a strong record on education capital, building 57 new or replacement schools, 25 major renovations and providing millions in Preventive Maintenance Funding, which did not exist under the NDP. My priority will be working to continue delivering education infrastructure funding in Prince Albert, including work with the Fransaskois community to address their education capital needs.
Why should people vote for you?
I would hope people vote for me because they have seen how hard I have worked to deliver for the people of Prince Albert and the great work the entire Sask. Party team has done to build strong communities and a strong Saskatchewan. I would be honoured to continue serving and advocating for the people of Prince Albert and I hope that people see the same vision as I do for this great city.
Troy Parenteau, NDP
I was born and raised in Prince Albert. I earned a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan through the SUNTEP program here in Prince Albert.
For most of my career, I have been an early childhood educator at a community school in Prince Albert. I am currently working as a teacher for the Youth Mental Health and Family Treatment Centre at the Victoria Hospital.
I have been active with many community organizations in Prince Albert, such as the Prince Albert Indian and Métis Friendship Centre, Prince Albert Community Players, the Urban Multipurpose Aboriginal Youth Activity Centres, Prince Albert Urban Aboriginal Strategy, and the Prince Albert and Area Teachers Association.
Why are you the best candidate?
I’m willing to stand up for Prince Albert. The Sask. Party has cut services that PA relies on, like the STC. They have chosen to ignore the issues that are important to our city, and I know we can do better. I will be a strong advocate for PA and will put the people of this city first.
Many people I have spoken to are concerned about addictions and mental health. We need safe and healthy communities, and people need to be able to access health care services when they need them. Sask. Party cuts are only going to make this issue worse. We have a plan to invest in a mental health emergency room in PA, to increase addictions support by $10 million, and to provide funding to hire mental health supports in classrooms.
We need to offer people hope not more cuts to programs. People need to have opportunities to succeed. That is why we will raise the minimum wage so that people who work can pay their bills. We will put $5 million into creating a poverty reduction strategy and increase support for housing first initiatives so people trying to leave bad situations have a place to go. We also are committing to double the funding for gang prevention strategies, to keep our communities and our young people safe.
To have safe communities we know that we need support for housing. I am committed to investing in housing initiatives, and creating an anti-poverty strategy. We will invest $5 million dollars to this important initiative, because we know these supports are important in PA. The Sask. Party government has ignored them, but we can do better, and we need to do better to keep PA healthy and safe.
Even before the pandemic, we saw wait times skyrocketing, and cuts to health care services. We know that we need to invest in the services people need now. We are committed to hiring more doctors, nurses and care aids to reduce wait times, and ensure better care in our hospitals and clinics. We are also committed to investing in long-term care and home care to ensure that seniors are safe and healthy. I am committed to investing in health care, because, right now, cuts would be downright dangerous.