The NDP candidate for Cumberland said he has unfinished business in the Legislature.
Doyle Vermette is looking to continue his career as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, a position he has held since June 2008 following a by-election win.
“We look at affordability up here is a big issue for many, it’s a struggle for many families, people are struggling to make ends meet. You know, and on top of that, you have many of the challenges we talk about our First Nations, our Métis communities,” Vermette explained.
“I would say that’s some of the areas addictions and mental health. People are just struggling with addictions and mental health throughout the province. I know that that’s compelling. That’s what we’re hearing and that’s what I’m seeing the struggles and when somebody needs to get into treatment. They need it when somebody needs the mental health. They have to have that.”
Vermette said many people in the northeast feel their government is not listening to their concerns.
He referenced 24-year-old Métis man Tristen Durocher’s month-long walk from Air Ronge to Regina in July to raise awareness to suicide prevention.
Vermette’s private members bill calling for creation of a legislated suicide prevention strategy was defeated in June by the governing Sask. Party.
That prompted Durocher to conduct a 44-day hunger strike on the lawn of the Legislative Assembly.
The government has its own five-point suicide prevention plan released in May, which targets northern youth through an education awareness campaign.
Yet, critics claim the government’s plan lacks accountability.
Unemployment in the North remains a considerable factor, as many industries are facing a downturn, or have ceased operations.
In helping to fix the northern economy, Vermette suggests a provincial government presence in the region.
“If you had a dedicated northern affairs office where you had a dedicated Deputy Minister, you had proper resources staff, to be able to work on those files with the other ministries to ensure that there are jobs up here when industries are struggling,” Vermette explained.
“I just think about having that dialogue and have someone committed to saying, we have an office of presence, what advocate for the North, with the ministries and with industry, you know, we want to work with industry. And we’re not scared to work with industry, and, you know, to find out what’s best for our committees, but we want to make sure that the communities are well aware of what’s going on.”
Vermette is being challenged by Sask. Party candidate Darren Deschambeault.