As a long-time NDP voter, I think that Charlie Angus’ candidacy for the NDP leadership, reported here by NOW Toronto‘s Kevin Ritchie, is a very good thing for the party, or at least that it can be.
Punk rock-style swag was on display at the bar as supporters packed the Horseshoe Tavern on Queen West. After short sets by musicians including Jason Collett, Ron Hawkins and rapper Mohammed Ali, Charlie Angus, the 54-year-old MP for Timmins-James Bay, took the stage to Patti Smith’s People Have The Power to make it official. Angus became the second candidate to officially join the NDP leadership race Sunday.
Angus did not spell out any specific policy positions, but emphasized job security, the high cost of post-secondary education and Indigenous issues in a 15-minute speech that echoed the appeals to working-class voters of former Democratic presidential primary candidate Bernie Sanders.
“We cannot be torn apart my the evil, false, corrosive politics of division,” Angus said. “The new working class is white collar and blue collar.”
Explaining that he spent $160 on a new suit for the occasion, Angus added: “I spent the money because we’re going to bring a little bit of class to politics.”
Angus chose the Horseshoe to launch his campaign, the club at which he saw his first punk show – the Last Pogo – as a teenager in the early 70s. He formed his own band after that, touring and recording seven albums over a 26-year career as the singer of alt-folk band the Grievous Angels, an experience, he says, that sharpened his interest in politics and social change.