Steve Black wants to be part of the change he believes is needed in Timmins-James Bay.
The former Timmins mayor is the Liberal candidate in the Sept. 20 federal election.
It was during his time in municipal office that Black got more involved in upper levels of government and saw the work northern Liberal MPs were doing to "move the north forward."
Working on various projects and policy issues, Black said they'd "approach members from outside our region who were in government and could hopefully try and push our issues along."
“When you look at Timmins-James Bay across the region, the issues are fairly consistent — mental health and addictions and the need for some supports and treatment centres in the area to deal with the crisis that we have in our region and across Canada as a whole is important. When you look at affordable housing, affordable childcare, these are all pillars of the Liberal platform and their policy that they continue to advance and that I think are very important to our region,” he said.
The resource sector is also important to the riding.
"As a mining engineer, I’m happy to try and be the champion for that for our region and push those issues forward and I think we have a very supportive government with the Liberal government and some of the policies with the mining tax credit that they have for mining exploration," said Black.
He also noted the support for FedNor, where funding has been increased. It was also recently established as a standalone agency, instead of an initiative of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
FedNor funding, he said, supports a wide variety of non-profits and businesses. Natural resource sectors have also benefited from it.
He said it's hard to say one key issue in the campaign, instead, there's a series of issues he believes align well with the Liberal government.
“Mental health and addictions is an issue that whether it be the communities in the southern part of the riding or the Indigenous communities up the coast, it’s something that we’re all struggling with and trying to tackle and I think right across the riding people want to see some substantial help to address those issues and challenges. But when you look at the pandemic … obviously the economy and jobs and having a government that’s willing to support businesses and have things like wage subsidies in place to keep people working and programs to support people that are out of work are very critical as well," he said.
Prior to running for mayor, Black was a Conservative candidate in a provincial election, which was won by the longstanding NDP MPP Gilles Bisson. He said he's been in discussions with the federal Liberal Party about the possibility of running for them since midway through his time as mayor.
While it wasn't the right time to run during the 2019 federal election, he feels now the time is right to vie for the seat.