Politics

3 NDP MPs announce they're leaving politics

NDP MPs Charlie Angus, Carol Hughes and Rachel Blaney all announced Thursday that they will not be seeking re-election.

Charlie Angus and Carol Hughes represent Northern Ontario ridings; Rachel Blaney will leave B.C. seat

Three people in a composite image.
From left to right, NDP MPs Charlie Angus, Carol Hughes and Rachel Blaney. All three MPs have announced that they will not be seeking re-election in the next federal campaign. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press, Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

NDP MPs Charlie Angus, Carol Hughes and Rachel Blaney all announced Thursday that they will not be seeking re-election.

"After seven elections, 20 years of service in Parliament, and the privilege of being the longest-serving MP in Timmins history, it is time to pass the baton," Angus wrote in a social media post on Thursday.

The longest-serving of the three MPs, Angus has represented a vast area in Northern Ontario since his first victory in the 2004 federal election, turning what had been a strong Liberal seat orange.

One of the NDP's most prominent voices, the 61-year-old is well-known as a former punk rocker (he played with former NDP MP Andrew Cash) and worked as a community activist in Toronto. He's the author of several books.

He ran for the leadership of the NDP in 2017, eventually placing second to current leader Jagmeet Singh.

He said in a news release Thursday that he tried to take a pragmatic approach to politics "but I and my NDP colleagues never wavered in our progressive ideals, and I am proud of the work I've done."

He specifically cited the coming changes to his riding as part of the reason for his retirement. His riding of Timmins-James Bay is set to expand by more than 20,000 square kilometres, encompassing many new communities and being renamed Kapuskasing-Timmins-Mushkegowuk in the next federal election.

WATCH | Jagmeet Singh addresses announced retirement of three MPs:

Singh says departing NDP MPs leave 'big shoes to fill'

2 months ago
Duration 0:42
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said that while it's tough to see veteran NDP MPs Rachel Blaney, Carol Hughes and Charlie Angus move on from politics, the party has "lots of exciting candidates" ready to replace them.

Speaking at an event in Winnipeg on Thursday, Singh said that while it was "sad to see" veteran MPs leaving, the party has some exciting candidates stepping forward. He framed the departures as normal turnover.

"It's always tough, though, to see veterans move on. But we respect on the great work they've done, we honour them and we'll continue their legacy with some great new MPs," he said.

"We're seeing our party in a really strong position."

Hughes also represents a riding in Northern Ontario that is changing significantly through a once-in-a-decade redistribution process. Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, next door to Angus's seat, covers a swath of land stretching from Manitoulin Island to the town of Hearst. The riding is being eliminated entirely and divided up among neighbouring constituencies.

Hughes won her seat in 2008, beating longtime Liberal MP Brent St. Denis after losing to him twice in previous elections.

Angus and Hughes both fought against the changes coming to their ridings and other ridings in Northern Ontario.

Hughes, 65, was part of the Canadian Labour Congress prior to her time in elected politics. She's served as assistant deputy speaker since 2015 and has held multiple critic roles for the NDP.

Blaney elected in 2015

Blaney was elected in 2015 in the riding of North Island-Powell River. Much of the riding previously had been held by former Conservative minister John Duncan.

"Being an MP has been a great privilege and honour, but it's time for me to focus on my family and stay closer to home on beautiful Vancouver Island," Blaney said in a media statement.

Blaney's riding is not changing significantly under the new maps.

Several other NDP MPs already have announced they will not be seeking re-election, including Randall Garrison and Richard Cannings.

Daniel Blaikie recently left his seat to work for Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christian Paas-Lang covers federal politics for CBC News in Ottawa as an associate producer with The House and a digital writer with CBC Politics. You can reach him at christian.paas-lang@cbc.ca.