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Timmins-James Bay candidates weigh-in on economy, labour shortage

TimminsToday asked candidates for their plan to stimulate the economy and job market in the wake of deficit and COVID-19, here are their answers
2021009-07 TJB candidates
The Timmins-James Bay candidates are, clockwise from top left, NDP Charlie Angus, PPC Stephen MacLeod, Conservative Morgan Ellerton and Liberal Steve Black.

TimminsToday asked each of the federal candidates in Timmins-James Bay a series of six questions via email. The following responses were submitted by the candidates and/or their campaigns. The answers have not been checked for accuracy; they represent the candidate’s platforms and opinions. External links have been removed.

Visit for more coverage of the federal election. Voting day is Sept. 20 and advance voting starts Sept. 10.


Q: We are facing a massive deficit coupled with a need for a continued economic recovery effort in the wake of the pandemic. On top of that, there is a critical need for more employees in the service sectors. What will you and your party do to address the deficit, stimulate the economy and help address the shortage of workers?

Charlie Angus, NDP: The New Democrats are the only party that has released a specific Northern Ontario platform. This includes support the key foundation industries – mining, forestry, agriculture, tourism. 

Economic diversification is key. FedNor plays a key role in this area. For the longest time Liberals and Conservatives treated FedNor as the poor cousin of Canada’s regional development agencies. I led the fight to establish FedNor as a standalone agency so it could have the same powers as other regions. Throughout the pandemic I was a champion to increase investments in FedNor. 

Over the last six years our region was third highest (on average) for project funding – beating out Sudbury, Nickel Belt and Thunder Bay. I will remain a champion of regional economic development.

The NDP will expand the rural immigration project into a fully funded program to encourage immigration to our region. 

We guarantee that jobs, training and apprenticeships will be part of all infrastructure investments. 

We will deal with the crushing levels of student debt including up to $20,000 forgiveness on debt to encourage people to choose post-secondary and retraining. 

We will undertake a massive housing and retrofit program to make housing affordable. This will create major job opportunities in the north.

Steve Black, Liberal: Our focus through the pandemic has been on the people of Canada, keeping them safe, getting them back to work and helping our businesses survive one of the most significant economic crises in our lifetime.  

Our government helped protect over 5 million jobs through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which allowed businesses to keep or rehire their workers. We introduced the Canada Recovery Hiring Program so businesses can afford to hire the workers they need to recover and grow as local economies re-open, and will extend this program until March 31, 2022.  

Through these programs and more Canada has recovered 92% of jobs lost during the pandemic.  By comparison, the United States has only recovered 75 per cent of jobs lost.

We believe that investing in a green economy is critical.  We have committed to doubling the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for projects involving minerals that are essential to manufacturing vital clean technologies, such as batteries.  Our region has a rich history of filling this need.  Our regional economy depends on the success of the natural resource industry, and having a representative that is in a party that supports mining exploration is critical for our future.

Morgan Ellerton, Conservative: The Conservative’s plan to ‘Secure the Future’ includes the economy as a high priority, ensuring a responsible winding-down of emergency COVID programs as vaccination rates go up and the economy re-opens. We will use targeted and time-limited stimulus measures to ensure we don’t create a structural deficit.

Our plan is to get folks back to work including in the hardest hit service sectors. Our small business owners are sharing that they cannot find people to fill the jobs they have and this is a big challenge. I will focus on this in Timmins-James Bay by delivering on our plan’s initiatives to get Canadians back to work. A Conservative government will initiate four components to get results as quickly as possible. The four components include.

  • Canada Job Surge Plan
  • Canada Investment Accelerator
  • Rebuild Main Street Tax Credit
  • Main Street Business Loan

I will work to help all Timmins-James Bay businesses understand and access these programs as quickly as possible. I will meet and listen to business representatives to deliver on the continuation and development of new programs and policies that support them for the future. The Conservative plan is available in detail on our website.

Stephen MacLeod, PPC: Here is the facts. Canada's public finances are in a disastrous state. The Liberals have exploited the COVID crisis and created costly new programs and increased the overall debt exponentially and to top it off, the Conservatives, NDP, Green and Bloc all supported it and none of them have any real commitment to reducing it. Every one of them are trying to buy your votes by spending more money here and there but where is that money coming from? In 2020-2021 the Liberals recorded a $354 billion deficit and our net debt surpassed $1 trillion for the first time. How is this being paid? By higher prices on all our goods and services! Our plan is to phase out all COVID spending programs and reverse new programs. We aim to get rid of the deficit by the end of a first mandate through fiscal prudence and spending cuts because debts and deficits are nothing more than deferred taxes on our children and grandchildren and I for one do not want to leave my offspring in a deep hole of debt.