Good Riddance Charlie Angus One of the Worst Politicians in Canada

April 10, 2024

Charlie Angus needed almost 700 words to tell us what we already know: he’s done in federal politics.

Angus’ long goodbye post was full of imaginary victories, while his true legacy is the part he played in importing Trump-style politics into Canada, though from a leftist slant.

A few weeks ago, I wrote why he should leave: he’s a self-important, self-serving political hack whose primary accomplishment was destroying a Canadian children’s charity.

While he claims he’s stepping down to spend more time with his family and his band, it’s all just a smokescreen.

As I wrote about months ago, the real reason he’s stepping down is that he was going to have his hat handed to him in the next election, and rather than take his medicine from the constituents he’s continually failed, he’s taking the easy way out and claiming to take the high road as part of a “renewal”.

Angus barely squeaked in last time, with 35% of the vote in a riding where, according to so many pundits, he’s loved. The People’s Party got 13%, a remarkable showing that likely cost the Tories the riding.

His windy farewell post contained this nugget: “I will continue to find ways to advocate for Indigenous and Northern issues.”

I guess he forgot that Stephen Buffalo, a member of the Samson Cree Nation, and president and CEO of the Indian Resource Council, called him a false ally of Canada’s indigenous people, writing that a bill Angus was proposing was “a direct assault on Indigenous peoples.”

This is a part of the province that needs an Indigenous MP. The Cree and Anishinaabe of northern Ontario have a set of issues that need to be addressed: housing, health care, drugs, drinking water, transport, the development of the “ring of fire” mineral belt, the affect of climate change on the forests and waterways. I hope the NDP (and the other parties) find the best Indigenous candidates to bring these issues to the House of Commons.

For years, the trend for Angus has been bad: entering a leadership election with a decent war-chest and a decent campaign organization, he came out with just 19% of the final vote compared to Jagmeet Singh’s 58%.

Following his defeat, Angus publicly criticized his fellow party members for choosing Singh, and for a while, we were lucky enough not to hear from him.

Then, in the summer of 2020, when the government was doing a remarkable job of rolling out innovative programs that saved many Canadian families from financial ruin, Angus teamed up with Pierre Poilievre to attack WE Charity and its founders (Craig and Marc Kielburger) during the Canada Student Service Grant saga.

This, according to my sources high in the public service, brought the entire Covid mitigation program to a halt. After the WE Charity takedown, public servants and politicians got the message: innovation leads to career destruction.

Angus and Poilievre were aided by a media pack looking for a quick and easy story, especially one that took down two tall poppies who had the respect and admiration of so many Canadians.

Despite months of vicious attacks on the Kielburgers and others from the charity during months of hearings by the Ethics Committee, its final report was a giant nothingburger. No crimes, no conflicts of interest, no scandal. Yet the report did make a point to call out the attack dog tactics used by Angus and Poilievre in their months-long circus.

Liberal MP Brenda Shanahan accused the MPs of doing great personal harm with their aggressive tactics, stating “the public harassment and violent threats against witnesses called to testify for this study… were especially troubling.”

Later, 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… (because)… the toxicity, rage and threats faced by elected officials have become so amped up it’s difficult to come up with workable solutions.”

Always the victim, Angus was never able to connect the dots between the decline in public discourse and his own toxic behaviour, which I wrote about in depth.

In October 2020, soon after the Ethics Committee circus, people criticized him for his over-the-top fictions about WE Charity. 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…”

But, alas, it was not to be and he returned just days later. His reckless aim often turned to Israel, our long-time ally, tweeting out his support of known Palestinian terrorists who have murdered Canadians, calling them “human rights campaigners”, while whipping up frenzied hatred in Parliament by parroting Hamas talking points. All in the same spirit of standing up for the oppressed, while really just doing whatever it takes to put a spotlight on himself. The facts don’t matter much.

The good news is, Angus can’t change his mind and unretire this time. Even if he tried, voters would quicky show him the door. His riding is being redistributed and he can read a poll: the People’s Party is unlikely to pull enough votes from the Liberals or Tories for any NDP candidate to win the riding that holds Timmins, Kirkland Lake and the Temagami region.

Goodbye Charlie, you won’t be missed. Or remembered.

-Mark Bourrie is a Canadian journalist, lawyer and award winning author. Mark Bourrie, PhD has been a member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery since 1994. He previously taught media history and journalism at Concordia University. Mark is the author of 13 best-selling books including having won the RBC Taylor Prize.