‘Knifer Nine: Mountie, mom and lover of the North

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Editor’s note: Each week, Yellowknifer asks a person to indulge us by filling out our nine-question adaptation of the fabled Proust Questionnaire. We take suggestions for interview subjects, just let us know at: editorial@nnsl.com.

Now in her thirteenth year with the RCMP, Cpl. Charmaine Parenteau came to Yellowknife in the fall of 2018. As a recruiting officer for the NWT RCMP, Parenteau is often on the road, pitching a career with the RCMP to young people in communities across the territory.

1) What is your most treasured possession?

My most treasured possession that I have is my health, however I realize that it is not truly something I have complete control over, so I definitely work hard not to take advantage of that fact. As for a physical treasure it would have to be my deceased mother’s sweater and a rock that was given to me by my great friend Lisan from the mountain side of Apparition Hill in Medugorje, Bosnia.

2) What is your idea of perfect happiness?

My idea of perfect happiness is equality and acceptance of all people. That our world would be hate and war free, where everyone would see people for the love that lives within us all and not the colour of our skin. I believe that people deserve love and peace regardless of the choices that they make.

3) What is your favourite thing to do in the NWT?

My favourite thing to do in the NWT is travelling to all the communities. All the communities I have visited thus far have been so rich in culture, beauty, diversity and some of the kindest people I have ever met.

4) What is your greatest fear?

That one day there will be no chocolate. Ha! I think I am fortunate that the fears I do have are all slight fears. I do fear mother bears (sows). Being a mother myself, I would not want to come between a bear and her cubs as I know this protective instinct is real and dangerous. I fear some dogs too, but my friends always seem to be there to protect me, especially my running partner April.

5)  Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Lately it has definitely been, “Have you ever thought about joining the RCMP?” I am sure I say this in my sleep.

Cpl. Charmaine Parenteau, pictured here in an RCMP photo.

6) What do you consider your greatest achievement?

By far my greatest achievement is being a mother to two amazing boys. It is not something you can ever prepare for. With any other achievements you have plans, actions and goals but parenting is everyday preparing! It becomes a lifelong achievement, which I continue to embrace every single day. And through it all, I realize that I wasn’t really their teacher after all, it is they who have taught and continue to teach me to be the best person I can be.

7) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would change my eating habits, which specifically includes my love for sugar. I am addicted to maple syrup but not just any maple syrup. It has to come from the beautiful province of Quebec.

8) Which person or group of people, living or dead, do you most admire and why?

I admire so many people. I have a huge list that has ample space for many more people to come. Throughout my life, I have encountered all types of people from all over the world and the most common theme that makes all these people so great is the love they have in their hearts, the graciousness of their souls and their evident purpose in this life. I am completely inspired by anyone who is going through this not so easy life with passion and grace, with purposeful intent.

9) What do you love most about your job?

My job does not define me but being a police officer is so much more than answering the call for service. It is about the impact we have on our communities that is so often never seen. I work with some amazing people that are truly heroes that go out there every day, where most people wouldn’t dare go, to keep the peace, save lives, change lives and sometimes give their lives. I love my job for being given a platform where we can make such enormous or subtle impacts in such positive ways – this is good enough for me.