Colleagues, friends remember MLA Roger Parent

Posted on December 1, 2016 in

Colleagues, friends remember MLA Roger Parent

The mood at the Saskatchewan Legislature was sombre as friends and colleagues said goodbye to MLA Roger Parent, a man described by many as a relentless, down to earth politician who was honoured to serve the people.

“The moment you said this might be hard to do would be the moment he would double down and get it done,” an emotional Brad Wall told reporters on Wednesday.

Parent died hours after publicly revealing he had been diagnosed with cancer. He was 63. On Wednesday, flags at the Legislature flew at half staff and question period was cancelled after a unanimous vote by MLAs.

Wall said Parent was a friend and the impact of his death was “sudden and profound.”

“We are just feeling very much for (his wife) Sheila and his family,” Wall said after giving a memorable tribute.

Parent is described by people who knew him as a hard-working politician who was immensely proud to serve as an MLA and never had lofty aspirations beyond serving his constituents.

“He was always amazingly chipper and was an absolute gem of a human to constituents and volunteers,” said Alexander Shalashniy, who volunteered on Parent’s 2016 campaign.

He said Parent would always go above and beyond, thanking each of his volunteers. In his first speech after the election, he thanked by name all 91 people who volunteered for his campaign. 

“He made a point of sending personal thank yous every time people helped out and always had amazing food prepared for the people going door to door in the cold,” Shalashniy said.

Keith Moen, executive director of the North Saskatoon Business Association, said Parent was the kind of politician who stuck up for the little guy and was instrumental in helping small businesses in the province.

“He was a friend of business and really a champion for small business and the little guy,” Moen said.

Parent was instrumental in the creation of Priority Saskatchewan, a government agency that helps businesses in the province win government contracts. Wall and Moen credited him with pushing the agenda forward.

The ability to take on something as large as restructuring government buying practices was part Parent’s personality, Moen said.

“He didn’t have any false airs about him. He was a genuine guy. You never had to worry about if he was being political with you. What you saw is what you got.”

During the brief legislative session, many of the MLAs had tears in their eyes during a long silence honouring the late MLA.

Parent lived in the Meewasin constituency for most of his life; he was first elected as MLA in 2011 and was reelected in 2016.

— with Leader Post files from David Fraser

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