By: Susan McNeil, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald

A third candidate will run in the upcoming Athabasca by-election, positioning himself a neither right or left on the political spectrum.

Darwin Roy said he sees no reason why people should have to choose one or the other when they can have both.

“Some of my personal views are quite central, meaning I sometimes agree with the right-wing philosophies and sometimes I agree with the left wing philosophies. So I’m running as an independent where we will not be restricted by the philosophies of either left or right. We will have the freedom to take guidance from the citizens in our constituency,” said Roy.

As an independent, he feels he can best represent all of his constituents concerns.

Roy is a member of the Canoe Lake Cree Nation and has roots in Beauval and Ile a la Crosse.

He was raised on the land but left to obtain a Masters in Education but that is not where his career has focused.

“For the most part, my career has been in social responsibility in the nuclear industry and the uranium industry in Saskatchewan for Cameco,” said Roy.

He then changed paths slightly, working in the oil and gas sector but again in the area of public/community relations in Alberta.

“My crystal ball wasn’t working because two years later, the downturn in the industry happened, which brought me back to Saskatchewan,” he said.

After working for the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, he then switched to the post-secondary education field before deciding to run as an MLA.

As a public relations specialist, he has worked for communities, First Nations and industry.

“I have lots of experience working with the public,” Roy said.

As an independent candidate, Roy would not have a caucus to set priorities with but he feels this can be a benefit, especially for Northwest Saskatchewan.

“That means I would have to really work on working together with government. Collaboration, co-operation is something that would be a definite priority, rather than constantly butting heads with government or the opposition,” he explained.

An independent seat would allow him to work for the benefit of his constituents first. This can be done with alliances and co-operation.

He has heard from the people he has talked to so far, that not enough is happening in the region.

“It’s been pretty stagnant. It’s been pretty idle in terms of real change occurring for Northwest Saskatchewan so we really need to work on some tangible things for the people,” Roy said.

This means highways, health, healing and housing.

“Over 50 per cent of our population is age of 29 and younger. These young people need some economic growth and economic stimulation which leads to jobs,” he said.

They need something to look forward to in terms of their future and the future of our area.”

A major concern for all residents of the area is the land and resources in the constituency.

Traditional land users need support when they engage with industry and the opposite is true as well, said Roy.

“I believe a balance can occur in terms of development versus environmental protection,” he said. “I think northwest Saskatchewan, the people I’m seeking to represent are kind of torn between left and right. I don’t think we always have to choose left or right. We have to choose what’s best for Northwest Saskatchewan and that’s why I think we would have an advantage in terms of having an independent MLA.”

Other priorities includes climate change issues and pushing for increased innovation and technology advancements in the region.

The date for the by-election has not been set as yet but must be held before February 15.

Georgina Jolibois is running as the NDP candidate and Jim Lemaigre as the Saskatchewan Party candidate.