Having done a lot of couch politics and debating with friends, when Stephen MacLeod found out there was an open spot in the riding he decided to toss his hat in the ring.
MacLeod is the People's Party of Canada (PPC) candidate for Timmins-James Bay in the Sept. 20 federal election.
He grew up in southern Ontario, in Haldimand-Norfolk, and moved to the Englehart area with his family about five years ago.
Up until recently, he was working as a commercial driver for a local construction company. He said he took an early layoff to put all his focus and attention into the campaign.
This election is MacLeod's first political campaign. The PPC is a fairly new party in Canada and this is their second federal election.
"One of the biggest things is from talking to a lot of other people not only in this riding, but all over especially Ontario, they’re tired of hearing the same old rhetoric from the campaign leaders that we’ve heard time and time again, election after election after election," said MacLeod.
Veterans, Indigenous communities and keeping Northern Ontario tax dollars in the north are among the issues he's focused on.
"(Veterans) are men and women who have risked their lives for us, they are heroes, and yet a lot of them are living in subpar conditions. A lot of them are struggling to find a subsidized housing or get into different types of homes — like a longterm care home — a lot of them have health issues," he said.
While he said there are really good health programs to help veterans, many people give up and pay out of pocket because of the red tape and paperwork.
He said there's also no reason for Indigenous communities to be suffering from unclean drinking water.
"We’re one of the most prosperous nations in the world and our own people and our own people don’t have clean drinking water, that’s a third-world issue, why is that a Canadian issue? And that’s something I want to try and address,” he said.
As a party, MacLeod said they want to keep Northern Ontario tax money in Northern Ontario.
"We want to reduce the federal government plunder by lowering the taxes and that will help us determine and fund our own best interests in the area. By doing that we can also encourage and equip all Canadians to succeed and the best way to do that is to assist entrepreneurs to create businesses and good-paying jobs growing our economy, be proactive in bringing manufacturing back to our region. And another one would be eliminating interprovincial trade barriers because growing in Ontario is great, but our prices of food is astronomical," said MacLeod.
Being a PPC candidate, he likes that the party promotes individualism and encourages its MPs to create private members' bills.
"They really give us a good voice, which means in turn that we can become a good voice for the people in our area and I think that’s really needed, especially in our area,” he said.
You can reach out to MacLeod and find more information at www.ppctimminsjamesbay.ca.