A long career in public service will soon come to an end for a northern MLA, as the 29th Legislative Assembly came to a close Thursday.

Doyle Vermette, the 16-year veteran for Cumberland in the northeast will no longer be making laws or asking questions to the government as he is set to retire, following an expected fall election.

Vermette was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in a June 2008 byelection and has held the seat since.

He long advocated for northern issues, inclusion of First Nations and Metis communities, but also making his region a better place.

On Thursday during final remarks from Premier Scott Moe and NDP leader Carla Beck, both praised Vermette for his tireless work on passing suicide prevention legislation. On his third attempt, it became a reality in April 2021.

Vermette’s legislation mandated reports and accountability on provincial progress on suicide prevention. “I think about Kimberly Beatty, just amazing. She does a walk in awareness of suicide each year. I think about Sally Ratt, about her loss and hurt her daughter at such a young age. It’s a victory for them,” Vermette commented after the passing of the legislation.

Vermette credited Tristen Durocher, who walked more than 600 kilometers from Air Ronge to Regina last summer in support of suicide prevention legislation. Durocher completed a 44-day hunger strike on the grounds of the Legislative Assembly.

“Anyone who knows this Member, knows he’s not much for political theatre. He sought nothing other with this bill than change,” said Beck. “He knows how high the stakes are for the people that he serves.” 

Vermette was a very passionate MLA inside the chamber, always urging the provincial government to do better not only for those in the northeast, but also those less fortunate. Outside the legislature, he was smiling and jovial.

Premier Scott Moe spoke of Vermette’s passion on suicide prevention, but thanked him for his many years of service. In a joking manner, Moe thanked Vermette for teaching him how to jig, during the apology for 60’s Scoop Surviors. Moe added Vermette was very good at jigging and nimble on his feet.

Vermette addressed the Legislature for the final time Monday thanking his constituency staff, family, friends, supporters, but also the people of Cumberland.

“I want to thank my wife, family, extended family, and many great friends,” he said. “To all of you who I have acknowledged, from the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you, thank you, and thank you.”

The New Democrats have nominated Jordan McPhail to replace Vermette, while Gregory Seib will carry the SaskParty banner in the next election.