THUNDER BAY – Iain Angus is looking to complete a rare feat as he chases the mayor’s chair in the Oct. 22 municipal election.
The long-time at-large councillor in 1975 was elected to Queen’s Park under the NDP banner, serving for two years before going down to defeat at the hands of Mickey Hennessy and the Conservatives.
After two failed attempts to win the federal Thunder Bay-Atikokan seat in 1979 and 1980, Angus captured it in 1984, downing future mayor Ken Boshcoff, leading to a nine-year stint in the House of Commons.
Angus returned to politics, this time at the municipal level, in 2003 and has served the city in an at-large role for the past 15 years.
In 2018, at 71, he decided it was time to take a shot at being mayor.
It was time, Angus said.
“When I looked at the possible candidates who might run for mayor, I felt I had a lot more experience than they did. I felt that I had a broader vision for the community, and then with my combined experience provincially and federally, and of course municipally, as well as being a municipal employee, I probably had the biggest grasp of the issues and the processes that we need to adhere to make the changes that we need.”
A regional leader and head of Common Voice Northwest, Angus said there’s plenty he’d like to do differently than past politicians if elected mayor.
“I think that my reputation, my style as non-confrontational, will bode well with the community,” Angus said. “I don’t have a history with the current cabinet in any negative way.”
Angus sees plenty of challenges for Thunder Bay, first and foremost demographics.
He wants to prioritize finding a way to deal with 2,000 retirees a year in the city.
“Not only do we have to find new people to move to Thunder Bay to fill these positions, we will also have to build more homes, more apartments, more condos, and that in turn will trigger a growth in the economy. So we need to be strategic in how we get those people here.”
Angus said it’s clear the city can’t rely on the current provincial government for things like a safe injection site. If need be, he’s prepared to find ways for the city to take on some of those roles itself to make life better for citizens.
Angus, who only plans to serve one term as mayor, said he’d also like to replicate the success of development in the north core on the south side of the city.