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BEYOND LOCAL: MP Charlie Angus not seeking re-election

With two decades of experience, the Timmins-James Bay NDP MP isn't hitting the campaign trail for an eighth time
Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus has announced he’s not running in the next federal election.

Charlie Angus is ready to spend some quality time with his family.

The Timmins-James Bay MP announced his retirement on Thursday, April 4, from his Timmins office. He said that with the coming changes to constitutional boundaries, adding 20,000 square kilometres, it’s time for a change.

“This is the perfect time to pass the baton because this requires new energy and new direction, and this is a good moment to make that transition,” he said. 

First elected as the NDP representative for the riding in 2004, Angus won his seventh federal election campaign in 2021.

He will serve as the MP until the next federal election, which will be in October 2025 at the latest.

The veteran politician is proud of the work he's done in the past two decades.

He pointed to his first trip to Kashechewan, a remote community on the James Bay coast, when he was elected in 2004 as a moment of clarity.

“I was shocked. I’d never seen anything like the poverty I saw there, and I said to the community, what did your MP say when he saw this? They said no MP ever came here before, and I said, that’s not going to be me,” he said. “I see a young generation taking leadership in these communities, and that’s what excites me.”

Working with First Nation communities has helped him grow.

“There’s no standing still when it comes to Indigenous rights in this country,” he said. “I think we all play our part in making this country better by making sure these young Indigenous kids have the opportunities to make this nation great, and I’ve gotten to be a witness to that.”

Angus is one of three NDP MPs to announce they are not seeking re-election. 

Carol Hughes, who represents Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, is also retiring. Similarly, she will stay on until the writ drops for the next election. British Columbia MP Rachel Blaney is also not running for another term.

There is no word on who the NDP candidate will be in the new electoral riding of Mushkegowuk-Kapuskasing-Timmins. 

Retired forestry executive Gaetan Malette is the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) candidate in the next federal election.

Angus hopes politicians will remember where they came from and who they are representing.

“I will be here in the north, I will continue to do my work in the north, and I’m passionate about the north,” he said. “I think the message I’ve given to politicians from any party, wherever they come from in the country, is that you have to remember where you’re going home to at the end of the day.”

The new riding boundaries take effect on April 22, 2024.

The future for Angus is full of projects, he said, including a new album from his band, the Grievous Angels, and a new book in the early stages.

“I’m interested in continuing the work I’m doing, but I’ve always kept other things going. Everybody knows that,” he said. 

The thing he said he is looking forward to in the short term though is getting to be there with his family.

“After 20 years of being a part-time dad, a part-time husband, and a part-time neighbour, I owe a lot of back-time to the people I love,” he said.

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