Vermette, Deschambeault, Oochoo step forward for Cumberland spot in provincial election

Wondering who’s on the ballot in Creighton, Denare Beach and northern Saskatchewan in the upcoming provincial election? Well wonder no more – the nomination deadline has passed and three candidates have stepped forward.

The Saskatchewan NDP announced Doyle Vermette would run for re-election last November. The incumbent was first elected to the season in a 2008 byelection.

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Originally from Prince Albert, Vermette and his family moved to La Ronge in 1990 and has worked with his family’s forestry company in Spruce Home. A former school board chair and alderman in Air Ronge, Vermette has sat on a number of corporate and community boards. Within the Legislative Assembly, Vermette currently serves as the NDP’s opposition whip, critic for northern Saskatchewan and associate critic for First Nations and Metis Relations.

With just about a month before the provincial election, the Saskatchewan Party named their man to run against Vermette - Darren Deschambeault.

Deschambeault, a communications professional by trade, was acclaimed by the party Sept. 19 to run in the Cumberland constituency. Originally from Cumberland House, Deschambeault was the final candidate of the party’s 61 nominees to be announced to run.

“I would like to thank the communities in the Cumberland constituency for all the support,” Deschambeault was quoted as saying in a press release.

“I’d like to thank my family for standing beside me. Thank you to everyone in Cumberland for giving me this opportunity.”

Deschambeault now lives in Prince Albert - outside the riding in which he’ll be running - where he works as a communications consultant for an oil and gas company. If he were to win, Deschambeault told La Ronge Now he would move into a community within the riding. Deschambeault, who is Métis, has ran for posts within the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan in the past, losing races for the group’s vice-president post in 2012 and 2017.

The Green Party of Saskatchewan named their candidate shortly before the Oct. 10 nomination deadline, picking Aaron Oochoo. A carpenter by trade, Oochoo is originally from Regina but now lives in the Nipawin area. Like Deschambeault, Oochoo does not currently live within the Cumberland constituency.

Vermette has won elections in the riding in 2008, 2011 and 2016, defeating Saskatchewan party candidates Dale McAuley, Joe Hordyski and Thomas Sierzycki in three straight elections. In the past two elections, Vermette has received more than 60 per cent of the total votes in the riding. The NDP and their predecessors, the Co-operative Commonwealth Party, have won every provincial election in the riding since Bill Berezowsky beat Liberal candidate George Newell in 1952.

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