Born on July 3, 1956 in the Queen City – Regina, Saskatchewan – Cathay Wagantall was raised there until her parents and their six children moved to the small town of Esterhazy in East Central Saskatchewan in 1967. There she met her best friend and future husband, Marty.
On a full scholarship, Cathay completed 3 years of a 4-year Bachelor of Science, Physical Education program with top honours at the University of Saskatchewan. As a student, she worked in hospitals and level 4 care homes during the summer months where she cared for the elderly, the ill and those with special needs.
In their early years together, Cathay and her husband were fortunate to travel across Canada for a year on a music team. From Vancouver Island to St. John’s, Newfoundland, she met people from all over Canada and experienced the rich diversity in the communities and regions she visited.
Together they have also travelled to Jamaica and parts of Europe as well as the United States and Mexico in ways that have enriched their worldview. They were privileged to spend significant time in Delhi, India, working and building friendships in the Dalit community.
Cathay’s first business venture with her husband was a partnership in a lumber/contracting business in Springside, Saskatchewan. After four good years, their company bought out its partners and then experienced the challenges of a recession – losing their small business and finding out what it is like to start over in difficult times.
She and her husband then moved to Edmonton, Alberta, in 1985 with three small children. There, Cathay served as an Athletic Director at the North American Baptist College (later Taylor College and Seminary) while her husband, Marty, completed his B.A. and Masters degree.
In 1991, Cathay and her family moved to Lloydminster, Alberta, where she coached community, junior and senior high school basketball and worked as a teacher’s assistant with special needs children in kindergarten and high school.
Upon returning to Edmonton in 1998, Cathay worked for ten years at Taylor University College and Seminary in development, accounting and student loans. Much of her community service was volunteering in the church at which her husband served, leading youth group activities and children’s programming including Sunday classes, community mid-week clubs and summer day camps. She also organized retreats and seminars.
Her political experience began in 2004 on the first Conservative Party of Canada board of directors for Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont where she gained valuable experience as election readiness chair, president and financial agent.
After running to be the Conservative candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona and losing by four votes on the 1st ballot, she then worked in M.P. Tim Uppal’s Edmonton-Sherwood Park constituency office until March of 2011.
Shortly thereafter, Cathay and her husband returned to their home town of Esterhazy in the constituency of Yorkton-Melville, where they own and operate a successful sign store – a change that was initiated when it became evident that Cathay’s father was no longer able to run the business he began and loved because of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Cathay served four terms as a member of M.P. Garry Breitkreuz’s electoral district association. Upon his announcement in April 2014 that he would not be running in the 2015 federal election, Cathay made the decision to run for the nomination. She won on the first ballot.
On October 19, 2015, Cathay was elected Member of Parliament for the federal constituency of Yorkton-Melville, Saskatchewan. One month later, Official Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose appointed Cathay deputy critic for Veterans Affairs.
She has become an outspoken critic of the antimalarial drug, Mefloquine, originally prescribed with frequent devastating results to Canadian Armed Forces members. MP Wagantall advocates for public awareness and federal recognition of the consequences experienced by many who have taken the drug and for assistance for those suffering its severe neurological and physical effects. MP Wagantall promotes the creation of a national service dogs program for veterans and is calling on the government to implement national standards for these dogs. She continues to serve on the Standing Committee for Veterans Affairs.
In her first year as a Member of Parliament Cathay had the privilege of tabling a private Member’s bill entitled, “Cassie and Molly’s Law” which sought to provide justice for mothers and their pre-born children. Her priorities include standing up for the most vulnerable in society and defending and protecting the fundamental Charter rights to freedom of conscience, religion, belief, and expression. MP Wagantall also serves as Chair of the National Prayer Breakfast of Canada.
During her forty-five years of marriage to her husband Marty, the pair has travelled on mission trips, planted two churches and led several faith communities. They have three adult children and ten grandchildren. No matter where God places her, Cathay’s goal has been to serve him well in all she does.