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NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay Charlie Angus rises during Question Period in Ottawa, on Dec. 1, 2023.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Veteran NDP MP Charlie Angus, a feisty opposition critic who transitioned from activism to public office, is leaving politics, announcing his exit as his Northern Ontario riding gains a new name and expands considerably.

His announcement Thursday marks the ending of a political career in which Mr. Angus served as caucus chair and ran for the party leader in 2017, placing second to current leader Jagmeet Singh.

Mr. Angus will remain an MP until the next election.

“After seven elections, 20 years of service, and the privilege of being the longest-serving MP in Timmins history, it is time to pass the baton,” Mr. Angus said in a statement Thursday.

Also Thursday, the NDP said two other members of the federal caucus will not be seeking re-election.

Rachel Blaney, who has represented the B.C. riding of North Island-Powell River since 2015, and Carol Hughes, MP for the Ontario riding of Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing since 2008, are also stepping away.

A party statement said all three MPs “are hoping to spend more time with their families after years of dedicated public service.”

Mr. Singh praised the trio. “They’ve added so much to our party and, while we’ll miss their contributions around the caucus table, I want to wish my friends the very best when each of them begins their next chapter,” he said in the statement.

In announcing his exit, Mr. Angus, the NDP natural resources critic, referred to serving the newly created Kapuskasing-Timmins-Mushkegowuk riding replacing the Timmins-James Bay riding he has represented since 2004.

The Electoral Boundaries Commission has mandated an expansion of the riding that includes an additional 20,000 square kilometres of territory, Mr. Angus noted.

Facing the task of starting over representing new communities over a vast region, Mr. Angus said he recognized the need for new energy.

“One political era is ending, and another begins,” the New Democrat wrote. “As part of this renewal, I have decided not to run for re-election.”

Also, Mr. Angus said he owes his family more attention. “After 20 years of being a part-time family man, I owe a lot of back time to the people I truly love.”

He said he will continue to advocate for Indigenous and Northern issues, and that the climate crisis remains a priority.

“I started in grassroots activism and am excited to return to those roots,” he said, adding he is committed to priorities including his work as a musician. He is a singer-songwriter for the Grievous Angels alternative country band.

The author of eight books said he also plans to continue his writing pursuits. His latest was the 2022 title Cobalt: Cradle of the Demon Metals, Birth of a Mining Superpower, a history of mining in the Northern Ontario town of Cobalt.

He said he is bullish about NDP prospects of holding the riding he won with 35 per cent of the vote in the 2021 election, compared with 27 per cent for his Conservative rival.

Mr. Angus was born in Timmins and grew up in Toronto’s Scarborough neighbourhood. In 1990, Mr. Angus, his wife Brit Griffin, and their family moved to Cobalt.

Mr. Angus has said he wanted to live in a place where he could fight for social issues, which came to include advocacy for Indigenous people.

Former NDP leader Jack Layton persuaded Mr. Angus to run for a seat, and, in 2004, he was elected in Timmins-James Bay.

Mr. Angus earned 19.4 per cent of the vote in the 2017 leadership race. Mr. Singh won with 53.8 per cent.

The NDP has 24 of the House’s 339 seats.

Last month, NDP MP Daniel Blaikie, first elected in 2015 to represent the Winnipeg-area riding of Elmwood-Transcona, announced he was leaving federal politics to serve as a senior adviser on intergovernmental affairs to Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew.

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