Charlie Angus

Charles Joseph "Charlie" Angus MP (born November 14, 1962) is a Canadian author, journalist, broadcaster, musician, and politician. A member of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Angus has been the federal Member of Parliament for the riding of Timmins—James Bay since winning the 2004 election. He is the NDP critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs (Youth),[2] and ran as a candidate for leadership of the federal NDP in 2017.

Charlie Angus

Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Timmins—James Bay
Assumed office
June 28, 2004
Preceded byRéginald Bélair
Personal details
Charles Joseph Angus

(1962-11-14) November 14, 1962
Timmins, Ontario
Political partyNew Democratic Party
Spouse(s)Brit Griffin (m. c.1986)[1]
ResidenceCobalt, Ontario
ProfessionWriter, editor, broadcaster, musician

Early life, music, writing, and activism

Angus was born in Timmins, Ontario[3] and moved to Toronto in 1973, where in 1980 he co-founded the punk rock band L'Étranger with childhood friend Andrew Cash. He performed bass and co-wrote many of the group's songs, which were influenced by the Clash and the group's Catholic social justice roots.[4][5] L'Étranger is best known for their anti-apartheid single "One People", one of the first independent videos to play on the then-new MuchMusic.[6] He later co-founded the alternative folk group Grievous Angels, garnering much acclaim in the Canadian music scene, including two Juno Award nominations.[7] He continues to perform with the group.

Angus was a community activist in Toronto in the 1980s where, along with his wife Brit Griffin, he established a Catholic Worker house, and a homeless shelter for men. He moved to Cobalt, Ontario, with his young family in 1990, and in 1995 Brit and Charlie launched HighGrader, a magazine devoted to Northern Ontario life and culture. In 1999, he was awarded the Jackie Washington Award by the Northern Lights Festival Boréal in Sudbury for his outstanding contributions to Northern Ontario culture.[7]

He is the author of seven published books, including an admiring biography of Les Costello, the celebrated Toronto Maple Leafs player who left professional hockey to become a Catholic priest in Timmins.[8] Angus's fifth book, Cage Call, a photo documentary with photographer Louie Palu, was released in 2007 as part of an award from Portland-based PhotoLucida. His sixth book Unlikely Radicals: The Story of the Adams Mine Dump War was short-listed for the Speakers Book Award, Legislative Assembly of Ontario, 2013, and was the runner-up for the Best Regional Non-Fiction (Canada-East), Independent Publisher Book Awards, 2013.

Angus is a progressive, social justice–oriented member of the Roman Catholic Church, a supporter of the Catholic Worker Movement, and was a longtime columnist for the progressive Catholic New Times. He became increasingly involved in regional and then federal politics through his organizing efforts in opposition to the Adams Mine garbage proposal and the disposal of PCBs in Northern Ontario.

Federal politics

Angus entered federal politics in the 2004 election as the successful New Democratic Party candidate in the Ontario riding of Timmins—James Bay, winning election to the House of Commons of Canada by less than 600 votes. He was re-elected in the 2006 federal election with a majority, over six thousand votes ahead of Liberal challenger Robert Riopelle. Angus was the NDP parliamentary critic for Canadian Heritage from 2004 to 2007, and was additionally critic for agriculture from 2004 to 2006.

In 2005, his own priest confronted him, and threatened to deny him Holy Communion if he voted with the government and his party to legalize same-sex marriage by Act of Parliament. Angus stood his ground and was denied communion. Angus' treatment provoked widespread public reaction both from those who supported the church's stance, and those who supported Angus.[9]

He has worked extensively on community development projects with Canada's First Nations, working as a negotiator and consultant for the Algonquin Nation of Quebec. He also played a prominent role in calling national attention to the Kashechewan crisis of 2005.

In 2007 he became the critic for Public Works and Treasury Board, as well as the NDP spokesman for digital issues such as copyright and internet neutrality.[10]

In 2006, after just two years as a Member of Parliament, the Toronto Star selected Angus as one of the ten most effective opposition MPs. He also won "Best Constituent Representative" at the 2007 Maclean's Parliamentarian of the Year Awards. Angus was re-elected in both the 2008 federal election and the 2011 federal election. Angus also served as the party's spokesman on privacy, ethics and government accountability. Angus voted against a bill to abolish the Canadian Firearms Registry in September 2010.[11] Although the registry is unpopular with many of his constituents, Angus voted against its abolition based on supportive studies provided by police. He subsequently introduced a private member's bill to reform the registry.[12]

He was named to Maclean's magazine's Power List in 2012 as one of the 25 most influential Canadians.[13] Zoomer Magazine has chosen him the third most influential Canadian over the age of 45.[14] In 2011, CTV News Channel's Power Play chose him in the top three MPs of the year, along with Stephen Harper and Jack Layton.

Angus has been an advocate for the rights of First Nation children and was the co-founder of the Shannen's Dream campaign – named in honour of the late Cree youth leader Shannen Koostachin. In early 2012, Angus' Parliamentary Motion "Shannens Dream" calling for an end to the systemic under-funding of First Nation education passed unanimously through the House of Commons.

After the 2015 federal election, he was appointed NDP critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the 42nd Canadian Parliament and elected Caucus Chair in January 2016.[15] He was also a member of the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development committee.[16] He resigned from both roles on November 23, 2016 in to prepare for the 2017 New Democratic Party leadership race.[17] On February 20, 2017, Angus officially registered to run in the NDP leadership race to replace Tom Mulcair.[18] He placed second with 19.4% of the vote, losing to Jagmeet Singh.[19]

Personal life

Angus lives in Cobalt, Ontario with his wife of 30 years. They have three children.


  • We Lived a Life and Then Some with Brit Griffin, Sally Lawrence, and Rob Moir. Between the Lines Books, 1996. ISBN 1-896357-06-7.[20]
  • Industrial Cathedrals of the North, with Louie Palu and Marguerite Andersen. Between the Lines, 1999. ISBN 1-896357-18-0.
  • Mirrors of Stone: Fragments from the Porcupine Frontier, with Louie Palu. Between the Lines, 2001. ISBN 1-896357-49-0.
  • Les Costello: Canada's Flying Father. Novalis, 2005. ISBN 2-89507-631-6.
  • Cage Call, with Louie Palu. Photolucida, 2007. ISBN 978-1-934334-02-7.
  • Unlikely Radicals. Between the Lines, 2013. ISBN 9781771130400.
  • Children of the Broken Treaty: Canada's Lost Promise and One Girl's Dream. University of Regina Press, 2015. ISBN 978-0889774018.

Electoral record

2015 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
New DemocraticCharlie Angus15,97442.85-7.1$73,519.39
LiberalTodd Lever12,94034.72+18.74$35,151.97
ConservativeJohn P. Curley7,60520.40-11.48$37,300.73
GreenMax Kennedy7522.02-0.18$520.54
Total valid votes/Expense limit 37,271100.0   $245,251.56
Total rejected ballots 266
Turnout 37,53761.84+10.84
Eligible voters 60,692
New Democratic hold Swing -12.89
Source: Elections Canada[21][22]
2011 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
New DemocraticCharlie Angus16,73850.4-6.1
ConservativeBill Greenberg10,52631.7+13.5
LiberalMarilyn Wood5,23015.7-6.5
GreenLisa Bennett7242.2-0.9
Total valid votes/Expense limit 33,218 100.0
Total rejected ballots 184 0.6 +0.1
Turnout 33,402 56.5 +5.5
Eligible voters 59,136
2008 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%Expenditures
New DemocraticCharlie Angus17,18856.5+6.0$63,948
LiberalPaul Taillefer6,74022.2-12.1$ 31,909
ConservativeBill Greenberg5,53618.2+4.6$29,651
GreenLarry Verner9383.1+1.5$133
Total valid votes/Expense limit 30,402 100.0-$97,746
Total rejected ballots 133 0.4
Turnout 30,535 51.0
2006 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
New DemocraticCharlie Angus19,15050.5+9.1
LiberalRobert Riopelle13,02834.3-5.3
ConservativeKen Graham5,16413.6-3.1
GreenSahaja Freed6101.6-0.7
valid votes 37,952100.0
New Democratic hold Swing +7.2
2004 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
New DemocraticCharlie Angus14,13841.4+19.7
LiberalRay Chénier13,52539.6-14.9
ConservativeAndrew Van Oosten5,68216.7-6.2
GreenMarsha Gail Kriss7672.3
Total valid votes 34,112100.0


  1. "Angus, Charlie". The Globe and Mail. 28 June 2004. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  2. NDP Team, December 15, 2017]
  3. Parliamentarian Information Page. August 22, 2007
  4. "Andrew Cash: From punk to politics". Toronto Star, May 7, 2011.
  5. ‘The only punk band ever reunited in the House of Commons’. Maclean's, Philippe Gohier, May 9, 2011
  6. L'Étranger at's Canadian Pop Encyclopedia.
  7. About Charlie Angus Member for Timmins James Bay. Biography page from personal website. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2007-08-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. Charlie Angus. Les Costello: Canada's Flying Father. 2005. Novalis.
  9. Francoli, Paco. "NDP MP Angus warned by priest he'll be refused holy communion". The Hill Times. March 7, 2005 Archived October 4, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  10. "NDP calls for net neutrality". CBC News. April 21, 2008. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  11. DeSouza, Mike (2010-09-13). "NDP rejects responsibility for killing gun registry". National Post. Retrieved 2011-03-29.
  12. Tibbetts, Janice (October 8, 2010). "NDP offers gun law compromise". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on May 30, 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  13. "The 25 most important people in Ottawa: Charlie Angus". Maclean's. November 27, 2012. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  14. "Zoomer Magazine has kudos for Charlie Angus". Timmins Times. September 20, 2012. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  15. Kirkup, Kristy (12 November 2015). "Tom Mulcair taps Nathan Cullen, Charlie Angus, Guy Caron for top critic roles". CBC News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  16. McGregor, Janyce (30 January 2016). "Meet the Commons committees of the 42nd Parliament". CBC News. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  17. Kirkup, Kristy (23 November 2016). "Angus steps down as NDP caucus chair, considers leadership run". CBC News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  18. "Information on Leadership Contests". Elections Canada. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  19. Ballingball, Alex (1 October 2017). "Jagmeet Singh wins the NDP leadership race". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  20. Search List from Amazon Books. 2007.
  21. Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Timmins—James Bay, 30 September 2015
  22. Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived 2015-08-15 at the Wayback Machine
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