by Jennifer Lavallee
Morinville News Correspondent
On Oct. 16, the Greater St. Albert Catholic School Board (GSACRD) will have two Trustee spots up for grabs during the municipal election; incumbent René Tremblay is hoping to snag one of those spots.
Advocating for a strong Catholic education system in Alberta and championing GSACRD’s French-immersion program are two of the overarching themes under which Tremblay is running. “I’ve also been a part of some of GSACRD’s big projects, like the building of new schools, and I really want to be there when they open,” he said.
Tremblay, who currently lives in St. Albert, grew up in Morinville where he said he lived for 25-years. He was first elected as Trustee in a by-election two years ago, in 2015. During his time as Trustee so far, the incumbent said he has most enjoyed helping to make improvements to the district. “Relationships with parents, and with students, us working together to resolve issues has been the most rewarding,” he noted.
Though he can talk about many rewards with his role in public office, Tremblay also said there have been challenges as well. The Province’s Carbon Levy, for example, and how it affects school budgets—everything from heating schools to transportation costs—has been a struggle for all school boards, he said. Bill One (an act to reduce school fees) has been another challenge, according to Tremblay. “It’s been extremely tricky…we’ve had to adapt and budget to accommodate the Bill,” he explained, “…I think work needs to be done to explain to parents and to the public exactly how Bill One works, and what implications it has for our schools.”
Tremblay also said, should he be reelected, he looks forward to continuing with important committee work, such as on GSACRD’s First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Leadership Committee; “it’s important that we keep building on relationships with the Indigenous Community,” he said. In addition to that, he added, he’d like to see more work done to bring the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities together, “to understand where we’ve come from and where we’re going.”
Another issue—that of Education Assistants (EAs)—is near-and-dear to his heart. “I’m proud to say I’ve been a big advocate for more supports in the classroom. We must to meet the needs of all students; EAs should be recognized as necessary.”
As a small business owner and proud father and husband, Tremblay, who has two daughters in who attend GSCARD schools, explained he first became interested in running for Trustee because he wanted to contribute and to make an impact where his kids go to school.
“Promoting faith-based learning and life-long learning…is important to my family and me, and is a big reason why I want to be here.”