Charlie Angus doesn't take anything for granted in an election campaign.
The NDP incumbent is seeking re-election Sept. 20.
First elected in 2004, this is Angus' seventh federal election campaign.
Amid the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, campaigning is a little different this time.
Instead of big launches in each community, it went virtual instead.
"We’re telling people that we will put their safety first and foremost so everything is done through a COVID lens in terms of safety and how we deal with our volunteers, how we go door-to-door, how we have masks. At the end of the day, it’s about meeting people and even though most of the public events that we would normally go to have been ended because of COVID concerns, we’re still out, we’re on the phones every day, we’re door knocking every day,” he said.
From the get-go, Angus said people have been frustrated that an election was called.
"It really spoke to a huge disconnect between what’s going on within the Liberal government and what ordinary Canadians are feeling. We’re still in the midst of the biggest medical and economic crisis in a century and to call an election seemed really cynical and that’s what we’re hearing at the doors. They want someone who’s going to be in Ottawa to stay focused on the issues that we’re facing at this time of global uncertainty,” he said.
He said people want a long-term plan to restore a more sustainable Canada.
"Because what we saw with COVID was that, within weeks of the pandemic hitting, millions of Canadians didn’t have enough savings to pay the rent. People are unable to buy a house, people are trapped in student debt, so we’re talking about what we need to do coming out of COVID," said Angus.
People want to know that programs are going to work, and that there's a party to defend things like public medicare and public services, he said.
Housing is huge, said Angus, along with the staggering homeless numbers in Timmins.
"We need to get housing dealt with. We need to deal with the opioid crisis, the New Democrats are the one party talking about treating this as a national medical emergency because of the amount of people who died. This is stuff we’re hearing," he said.
"For me personally, one of the things I really want to continue to stay focused on is Timmins-James Bay has done extremely well with FedNor investments. We were third highest on average over the last six years out of 10 ridings. We were third in the country in 2018 for the number of projects being invested in Timmins-James Bay. We have some really good economic indicators in the region right and I want to make sure that coming out of COVID, that the COVID investments and the FedNor investments and the supports, that we’re going to continue to see that kind of investment so we can build a more sustainable northland,” he said.
To connect with Charlie Angus, you can find him on Facebook.
His Timmins campaign office is located at 71 Algonquin Blvd.