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Federal NDP candidate brings leadership campaign to Valley

Charlie Angus hopes to run against Justin Trudeau in Canada’s next election
NDP MP Charlie Angus speaks to Port Alberni residents about his leadership campaign for the next Canadian federal election. Karly Blats photo

With his motto “got your back,” New Democratic Party MP Charlie Angus brought his leadership campaign to Port Alberni on March 30.

Angus, Member of Parliament for Timmins-James Bay since 2004, is one of four NDP candidates competing to be Canada’s next leader in the 2019 federal election.

Close to 40 people came out to the Italian Hall to listen to Angus speak. His speech focused on issues such as the middle class, the economy, the environment and nation-to-nation relationships.

“We have a Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who mentioned middle class every fifth word,” Angus said. “Did you know selling arms to the Saudi Arabia government, the house of Saud, is for the middle class? Ask Justin. When he was challenged on the fact that he was holding exclusive billionaire private galas…he said we were talking about the middle class.”

Angus said he and Trudeau come from very different worlds when it comes to the middle class.

“The middle class has disappeared and it has been replaced by massive amounts of student debt, it has been replaced by blue collar and white collar workers living on endless contract work, unable to buy homes in the neighbourhoods and communities that they grew up in and they love,” Angus said.

Angus also touched on environmental obligations and a lack of nation-to-nation consent when it comes to pipelines.

“We have international obligations that we cannot put off any longer. We had a Prime Minister that came to British Columbia…he promised there would be a nation-to-nation relationships including consent before big projects could happen,” Angus said. “And then he got elected and he blew past all of that and we got the LNG pipeline and we got Kinder Morgan.”

Audience member, John Mayba, asked Angus how he and the NDP government could approach Alberta premier Rachel Notley in terms of coming to some kind of a workable agreement that would further B.C’s fight against LNG.

“I have enormous respect, there’s never been a government that’s been under more pressure and intimidation and violent sexual threats that the Alberta government faces on a daily basis,” Angus said.

“They are also making record investments in renewables and the federal government is no where to be seen. I will work very closely with the Notley government on the issue of the environment. I’m making outreach to them now.”

Angus continued to stress that nation-to-nation relationships are the “issue of our time.”

“We have to get serious about this because if you work with First Nations’ communities you will see the interference at every single level,” he said. “It’s about empowering communities to start making changes they need and once you start empowering communities then you starting to empower the region.”

More questions came up about what an NDP government would do about raw log exports.

“We can talk all we want about it, but unless we elect NDP government it’s going to continue,” Angus said. “Christy Clark…one more term? It can’t go on because the raw log exports will go on. The privatization agenda will go on. If you elect new democrats we’re going to put a stop to that.”

Gord Johns, MP for Courtenay-Alberni, said he trusts Angus and his vision to lead the NDP into the next federal election.

“He talks from his heart. When I think about Charlie I think about someone who wants to create a new economy, an economy where we tackle equality…where we don’t just prop up the rich,” Johns said. “He speaks to people in a way that they can actually understand… and he can make sure we’re heard.”

The 2017 NDP party leadership election will take place between Oct. 1–29. Angus is running against Niki Ashton, Guy Caron and Peter Julian.