Three vying for Sask Party nod in Cannington

June 3, 2019, 1:31 pm
Kevin Weedmark

Marilyn Simons, Winston van Staveren, Daryl Harrison

Three candidates are vying for the Saskatchewan Party nomination in the Cannington constituency—Winston van Staveren, Marilyn Simons, and Daryl Harrison.

Cannington includes Maryfield, Fairlight, Wawota, Redvers and points south in our area.

Saskatchewan Party members will select a candidate June 13. The current MLA for Cannington, Dan D’Autremont, is the longest serving member of the Legislative Assembly, having been first elected in 1991. He had announced he will not be running again in the next election.

Winston van Staveren
Winston van Staveren, a farmer from the Creelman area, said he has spent his whole life in the area.

“I was born and raised in the Creelman area,” he says. “I went to school and attended church in Fillmore for all of my childhood. After university I came back to the Creelman area and started farming with my family. I’ve lived in the riding my whole life.”

He has had extensive involvement in his community. “I’ve been a committee member of the Creelman Agricultural Society,” he says. “I’ve volunteered at the Creelman Community Complex. I’ve volunteered for the Monarchist League of Canada. I’ve volunteered for the Creelman Theatrical club. I’ve been an active parishioner and volunteer at the St. Aloysius Church in Fillmore and I’ve served on the Saskatoon Grasswood Conservative EDA on the Policy and Constitution Committees.”

He has had some involvement in the Saskatchewan Party.

“I have served as a delegate to conventions for the Saskatchewan Party and I’ve campaigned for them in previous elections,” he says.

Why did he decide to run for the Saskatchewan Party in Cannington this election?

“I want to serve my province and represent my community and the Saskatchewan Party does that well,” he said. “Cannington needs a strong voice to advocate for its interests and too often rural interests are pushed aside in favor of what’s good for big cities. I will stand up for the rural.”

What does he believe are the main issues facing the people in Cannington and Southeast Saskatchewan?

“Jobs are the biggest issue,” he said. “The slowdown in the oil industry is a major issue in the riding. It has affected the job market and keeping the people in the community. The result can affect schools, hospitals and businesses. Currently the agricultural sector has concerns about the trade issues with China. The lack of rural internet and cell phone coverage is another issue as well as rural crime.”

He said that, if he secures the nomination and wins the election, advocating for rural issues would be a main goal as MLA.

“I’d like to advocate to keep essential services and businesses in our community,” he said. “I want to advocate for better internet and cell phone coverage. We should have a conversation about equalization payments, the unfair formula hurts us out West. I’d like to advocate for sensible solutions towards rural crime, such as more resources for police patrolling in remote areas.”

He said he has travelled the riding extensively in campaigning for the nomination.

“I’ve been in pretty much every community and the Saskatchewan Party is well liked in the riding. I’ve been door knocking all over.”

Marilyn Simons
Marilyn Simons lives with her husband and two children on a family vegetable farm south of Alameda. In addition to farming, she has had a career in the accounting field.

She has been extensively involved in her community.

“I’m on the board for the figure skating club in Alameda and I’m a director on the Estevan Farmers Market board,” she says. “I volunteer with the Alameda School Community Council and with fishing derbies, curling bonspiels, you name it. When you live in a small town, most people help with a lot of different things. It’s fun, I thoroughly enjoy it. I also help volunteer with the Carnduff and District Music and Arts Festival. Music always has had a place in my heart and I sing in church.”

Why did she decide to run for the Saskatchewan Party nomination in Cannington?

“I think this question has two parts to it. There is always that ‘why,’ that sits in somebody’s gut for their entire life and then there is that ‘why now,’ that moment when you initially say yes, I’m going to jump in.

“I grew up in a family that was very open about politics and we spoke about it often. My parents raised me to listen and pay attention because it does affect all of us. They encouraged me to be part of the process and through my years of being in accounting and tax preparation I have seen many ups and downs, especially with this last decision with the Liberal carbon tax. I see many of my clients struggling to make ends meet.

“The answer to ‘why now’ is I feel that my life experiences have built up. I’m a business owner and that has taught me so much. My knowledge of economics is deeper and more mature now. I think now I have more to offer. I’ve always thought about it but now I’m ready to do it.”

What does she believe are the main issues facing people in this region?

“I’ve been going door to door, and every little town has its own issues,” she says. “Some people are telling me the federal issues or the municipal issues are their concern. The provincial issues stem, in my opinion, directly from poor decisions by the Trudeau Liberal government. The carbon tax, that’s a big one. Everyone is talking about it and how it’s affecting not just farmers but a lot of the less fortunate families that are struggling to decide whether or not to pay their power bill and fill their car with gas. The lost jobs due to the low oil prices or the lack of pipelines out here. I feel that the people are really wanting the Sask Party to stand up for them and get that pipeline built.

“Also the farmers are fearing what is going to happen with the canola crisis. While it’s a federal matter, I want to back the Sask Party in pushing the federal government to secure more international trade agreements.

“All over this riding we have great doctors, but when we are referred to specialists, we have to travel three hours for a five minute consultation. It’s costly. Sometimes we are staying in hotels overnight and expecting something to be done and it’s a five-minute consultation and then we get sent back home.

“If we could get the pipelines built we could get more jobs here and more families which then would bring more specialized services here and we could keep our money here.”

What would be her priorities if she wins the nomination and is then elected MLA?

“Our economy, our energy sector and our families.

“As far as our economy goes, I would love to stand with the Sask Party and fight against the carbon tax. We need to help bring in businesses that will create jobs and we need to support our industries. These industries feed our families. Without these industries we don’t survive, we don’t have an economy.

“As far as the energy sector, we need to advocate to complete Energy East and fight Bill C-48. We need to fight to bring in energy investors, we have to open up this oil market. Get all the pipelines built and get this sector to a world market.

“And for our families, I want to reinforce the Sask Party’s platform of supporting health care, getting greater access to surgery time, and closer services, and further their commitment to building schools and hiring teachers and support workers.”

She said the size of rural ridings creates issues.

“Living in Alameda, I’m in the far south west corner, so my goal, if I was the MLA, I would like to do a travelling office, where one month I make arrangements with the town or RM offices to be available for that town. If you want to truly represent the people, you have to be with them. You have to be compassionate to understand them on a personal level and make them feel comfortable enough to approach you. By being in their home territory I think that makes the MLA more available for them to reach out to. That’s the concern for many people, that it’s such a big riding, can you stay connected with each town?”

Daryl Harrison
Daryl Harrison is a lifelong resident of Southeast Saskatchewan.

“I’ve been a resident in the constituency all my life,” he says, “always in the Alida area. I’ve been involved with the community, both in Alida and Oxbow—that’s where I went to high school. I played senior hockey and baseball. My younger son goes to school in Alida. I’ve been a rancher since before I was done high school. Upon completing high school I was a tank truck driver in the oil field and battery operator. I then went on to be a production foreman and moved up the scale. I worked as a production foreman for two different companies and have been very involved in the oil patch and agriculture and continue to do so.”
He has also been very involved in his community.

“Currently I’m on the Board of Directors for the Prairie Pride Credit Union. I have been since it became Prairie Pride. I was on the Alida Credit Union Board before that. I’m a Lions member in the Alida District Lions Club and a director on the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Zone 1, I’m on the Sask Party Cannington constituency association although I had to take a leave from that position to pursue this opportunity. I’m currently a councillor for Division 3 in the RM of Reciprocity #32. Prior to that I was on the board of Southeast Cornerstone School Division also for Division 3. I was also on the Souris Moose Mountain board prior to the forced amalgamation. I’ve also volunteered at the rink and for the wildlife in Oxbow. In a small town everyone pitches in and helps out.”

He said he has been involved with the Saskatchewan Party “virtually since it started. Prior to that I was on the Cannington PC Executive as well as the PC Youth President for a term.”

What does he think are the main issues facing people in Cannington?

“The main issue is the economy, always. It sometimes doesn’t get as much discussion as it needs. Our oil and gas industry, although it’s moving and there’s some drilling going on, well servicing, it is not where it needs to be. I don’t believe it’s lack of pipelines that are causing us the most grief right now, I think the most grief is the confidence of investors investing in Canadian oil and gas, especially Western Canadian oil and gas.

“They see a federal government that is basically not supportive and could care less about oil and gas producers.

“In this corner of the province, oil and gas producers are a huge employer, both directly to the companies and through sub-contractors and other residual effects down the line. What we need is a federal government that takes oil and gas production seriously. Canadians and the world need energy and they need to start supporting it. Our provincial government is doing a good job and they need to be supportive at the federal level as well.”

What would Harrison’s main goals be if he becomes the next MLA for Cannington?

“I certainly agree with the provincial government in fighting the federal carbon tax.

“I don’t believe the federal government should have a right to discriminately impose a carbon tax on an individual province just because they don’t believe the plan the province has is adequate.

“I can’t understand how they think they can reach in and unilaterally decide Saskatchewan is getting this carbon tax starting April 1, 2019. I just don’t agree with that.

“The issues locally are certainly the highways and roads which are big concerns. Down the road RMs in certain areas are going to have problems securing gravel. We need to make sure our paved highways are built and maintained to an adequate standard because we have more and more trucks from oil and agriculture hauling down the roads.

“The other main concerns are healthcare and education, both in staff recruitment and keeping up facilities. Staff recruitment as far as healthcare, it’s not just doctors, it’s RNs and nurse practitioners, all kinds of medical care staff are required to keep our healthcare going.

“Our smaller hospitals and health centers go from being adequate to being short in very short order sometimes and it’s an ongoing commitment to keep recruiting future doctors, nurses and other specialists.”

Harrison said he has travelled extensively through the riding in the leadup to the nomination.

“I have been to almost all communities, some to more of a degree,” he said.

“It is a large area and I wish I had more time but I’m still ranching and I still have a job in the oil patch, so my time commitment to get out to different communities has been on weekends and after hours. I’ve been doing my best and working hard to get out there and I’ll keep working hard until the 13th.”


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