Farewell, Charlie Angus. We’ll Clean Up the Damage You Caused

Politics
By
Mark Bourrie
August 10, 2023
Charlie angus standing on a road

Sorry, Charlie, your time in Parliament is almost up. And that’s good news for Canadians.

No, I’m not talking about the prospect of the NDP’s Bully in Chief losing his seat in the next election, whenever that may be. I’m referring to the fact that Charlie’s seat is likely to be eliminated altogether thanks to the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario, which is planning to announce a redistribution of Ontario’s ridings in September 2023. Northern Ontario will lose a seat, and it’s Charlie’s that will likely be carved up.

While I’m not a big fan of reducing the clout of my old stomping ground of  northern Ontario by redrawing riding boundaries without cause, this updating of the ridings is completely appropriate given the growing population in suburbs in Southern Ontario, which will likely be the beneficiary of the redistribution process. (Toronto will also lose a seat).

The real upside is that the self-interested bully that is the NDP MP Charlie Angus will be kicked to the curb once and for all. His vote numbers have declined in the last few elections and, even if he does get the NDP nomination in a new riding, he’s likely to lose in the general election.

I do not use the term “bully” loosely, but in Charlie’s case, it’s completely appropriate.

He reminds me of the schoolyard bully at my elementary school in Thornbury, Ontario.  Let’s call him, for convenience sake, “Pierre”. He used to torment younger, smaller kids with the usual tactics: pushing them into lockers, knocking their books out of their hands and stealing their food or lunch money. It went on for years until another kid found the courage to kick his ass. And in typical bully fashion, “Pierre” started crying like a baby and ran off to cower in the principal’s office. Nobody, except the smallest kids and some small animals, was ever afraid of him again after that.

While Charlie Angus has always pretended to be the friend of the working man, a defender of truth, justice and equality,  the image he tries to project is completely opposite to how he acts. He’s also been a “white saviour” to the Cree people of his riding.

Most recently he’s tried to shame his former side-kick on the WE Charity affair, Pierre Poilievre, because Poilievre moved into Stornoway, the residence of the Leader of the Official Opposition. Having won the leadership race for the Conservative Party in 2022, it is appropriate for Poilievre and his family to move into the residence, which is replete with cooks and housecleaners. It’s a nice perk, and Poilievre has never come out against it.

Angus claims to be so offended by Poilievre doing what every other Leader of the Official Opposition — including Jack Layton and Tom Mulcair — has done, that he’s made ridiculous video clips and social media attacks on the issue.

As is always the case with Angus, this comes from a place of pure jealousy and hypocrisy. Angus, of course, ran for and lost the NDP leadership race in 2017 to  Jagmeet Singh. While Angus went into the race as a front runner who had raised the second-most amount of money , he was crushed by Singh in the final vote, earning only 19% of votes cast to Singh’s 58%.

Sore loser that he is, Angus tweeted (Xed?) out criticism of his fellow party members for voting for Singh, writing “‘when a party believes that better Instagram tricks or gala planning is the path to success we lose touch.” (He later backtracked and deleted the Tweet).

Had Angus won and the NDP had managed to rise to Official Opposition status in either of the two subsequent federal elections, I’m sure he’d have been on the front steps of Stornoway with his moving vans the day after the election. His D-list “punk” band, the Grievous Angels, which he constantly promotes on his official MP twitter page, would like have played his housewarming party.

(Gotta wonder what it is about faux punk rock that is so attractive to obnoxious politicians.)

Angus fell off the radar for a while after his failed leadership bid, only to re-emerge as a meaner, more bitter version of his former self, taking his aggressions out on unlikely targets.

For example, he teamed up with Poilievre in attacking WE Charity and its founders (Craig and Marc Kielburger) during the Canada Student Service Grant scandal. Despite being a long-time supporter of the charity and the Kielburgers – Angus’ own daughter participated in WE Charity programming, which he later admitted was life changing for her – Angus saw an opportunity to raise his own profile by becoming a lead attack dog in the parliamentary hearings looking into the matter.

Despite months of vicious attacks on the Kielburgers and others from the charity, the Ethics Committee’s final report into the matter amounted to a giant nothingburger, although it did highlight the personal attacks waged by Angus and Poilievre during their clown show.

Liberal MP Brenda Shanahan accused opposition MPs of taking the committee on a fishing expedition and attacked opposition tactics.

“Unfortunately, the numerous tactics used by the opposition members … both (inside) and outside of committee work… subjected individuals to personal and material damages and undermined the credibility and the role of our independent commissioners,” she said.

“Indeed, it was the public harassment and violent threats against witnesses called to testify for this study that were especially troubling.”

Friends of WE, a website set up by the charity’s former donors and supporters, details just how far Angus went in his vendetta against the children’s charity for his own personal gain. Angus constantly says he was simply “asking questions” but this is highly disingenuous, and quickly forgets, for example, he called the RCMP to investigate the charity for political reasons.

One of the lowlights it points to is Angus hunting up Reid Cowan, a TV anchorman from Las Vegas, to testify before the committee. The man’s story of losing his young son in a playground accident was tragic, a loss that any parent would relate to.  But things got weird when the Washington Post reported how Cowan tried to use this tale to extort the charity into paying for him to not testify  The charity refued to pay.  Cowan went on to make a fool of himself and Angus with his overwrought testimony, though the media reported on this mess as though it was legitimate news.

The Friends of WE website also points to this horrible incident towards the end of the hearing process, in which Angus accused WE Charity’s CFO of faking a brain aneurysm to try and avoid testifying.

“Angus also repeatedly demanded WE’s CFO, Victor Li, appear in person to testify before the Ethics committee even though MPs were informed behind closed doors that Li had recently been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. But Charlie Angus was unmoved downplaying Mr. Li’s condition accusing him of lying about ‘being sick’ and accusing the whole organization of having ‘a sense of entitlement’.”

Not quite sure how this fits with NDP claims about defending human rights which, I presume, include the rights of the disabled and sick.

In the book about the affair, What WE Lost (see my full review, here), lawyer and author Tawfiq Rangwala does a deep dive into Angus’ behaviour during the 18 months of the affair.

“Angus’s crusade against WE Charity, like Poilievre’s, was marked by mischaracterizations and false statements that served to create an aura of wrongdoing on the part of the charity. His goal seemed to be to throw lots of mud and see what stuck, and it worked,” wrote Rangwala.

Beyond his personal attacks, Charlie was so over the top that WE’s supporters published 101 False Statements by Charlie Angus.

And just like the bully who runs and cries to the principal’s office after getting punched, Angus has tried to earn sympathy from his supporters when he is called out for his bullying and hypocritical tactics.

With no sense of irony, Angus wrote an opinion piece lamenting the rise of hate directed at politicians, often fueled by conspiracy theories and false media reporting, stating:

“Parliament Hill security is advising elected officials to scope out public events before entering, to be briefed in advance on potential threats, and have an escape plan in case things go wrong. The security experts admitted that the toxicity, rage and threats faced by elected officials have become so amped up it’s difficult to come up with workable solutions.”

I wonder why!?  The fact that Angus sees himself as some sort of victim, presumably of the “Clownvoy” and the vermin who support it, while not understanding the toxicity of his own words and actions including his rage-trolling of WE Charity, the Kielburgers and dozens of other people on Twitter – is astounding. The guy has really lost his grip.

(I don’t see these anymore, since Charlie blocked me. So much, I suppose, for all the work my dad did for the NDP in northern Ontario.)

It’s been disheartening to see otherwise respectable people, like reporter Susan Delacourt and author Maude Barlow, fall for this schtick. They should know better. But Charlie is a good crisis actor. He’ll attack people with profanity-laced tirades on Twitter and then threaten to leave the platform when people point out his hypocrisy. This was the case in October 2020 when he was being widely criticized for his over-the-top attacks on WE Charity, to which he responded by announcing his retirement from Twitter:

“Shoulda done this ages ago. Saying goodbye to the toxic bots and hate cesspool called twitter. Bye bye…”

And yet, you can find him there. His self-imposed exodus lasted all of three days. (Tell him I say hi).

Charlie may end up pensioned off after redistribution. Maybe he’ll land some glamorous gig like mayor of Timmins. But in terms of karma, there’s another possibility I am keeping an eye on, and that’s the unfolding lawsuit by We Charity against the CBC (see my earlier piece on the suit, here), which is moving forward in Washington, D.C., despite the CBC’s objections.

I’m expecting the process to be highly revealing in terms of exposing the true role Angus, Poilievre, and others played in colluding with members of the media who wrote disparagingly of the charity and the Kielburgers. The discovery process should be very interesting. This lot, which includes professional troll Jesse Brown, and CBC’s sad sacks Harvey Cashore and Mark Kelly, is going to finally have the tables turned and be required to account for their actions, under oath. Angus won’t be shielded by parliamentary privilege.

I suspect you will not see a single word written in the mainstream media once the case goes to trial, but I will be there – popcorn in hand – to watch every minute of the proceedings.

So whether by redistribution or by exposure in court, I firmly believe we will not be seeing Charlie Angus on the federal political stage for much longer, and that, in my opinion, is a good thing.

Sorry, Charlie.