POLITICS

David Suzuki Endorses Charlie Angus As Next NDP Leader

Environment activist says Ontario MP knows how to build bridges.

08/14/2017 10:40 EDT | Updated 08/14/2017 11:01 EDT

Environmental crusader David Suzuki wants Charlie Angus to become the next leader of the federal New Democratic Party.

In a statement released Monday, Suzuki lauded the veteran Ontario MP as a "bridge builder," who was able to stop toxic waste imports and protect northern groundwater by bringing together blue-collar workers, farmers, Indigenous peoples, and activists.

"He put the work into bringing divergent communities together into a movement that was unbeatable," Suzuki said in the release.

"We need a leader in Ottawa who is willing to undertake the same determined approach to the great crisis of our time."

'He gets stuff done'


Angus will not divide people into "winners and losers" in the fight for environmental and social justice, Suzuki said. He also complimented Angus, whose Timmins-James Bay riding includes many First Nations communities, for his "unceasing fight" for Indigenous rights.

"But Charlie is also equally comfortable in a union hall to talking with urban idealists," Suzuki said.

"Canada needs a leader who isn't afraid to shake things up. That's what I like about Charlie. He doesn't just talk. He gets stuff done."

This is not the first time the popular scientist and broadcaster has made an endorsement in a leadership race. In 2013, Suzuki backed Vancouver MP Joyce Murray in the Liberal leadership race over eventual winner Justin Trudeau.

Canada needs a leader who isn't afraid to shake things up. That's what I like about Charlie.David Suzuki

Suzuki later said Trudeau asked for an endorsement just before the start of the 2015 election, sparking a heated exchange over pipeline projects.

Angus has urged New Democrats to move beyond so-called pipeline politics. The centrepiece of his climate policy is a carbon budget that will cap nation emissions over a rolling five-year period.

On Monday, Angus took to Twitter to say his relationship with Suzuki was cemented over his work to fight toxic waste imports to the north, documented in his book "Unlikely Radicals."

The endorsement comes ahead of Thursday's registration cutoff for new members who will be able to vote in the race. Ontario MPP Jagmeet Singh, Manitoba MP Niki Ashton and Quebec MP Guy Caron are all fighting to grab attention in the final push.

Singh, considered a top candidate because of his fundraising prowess, is currently leading with endorsements. On Friday, he revealed nine members of the Ontario legislature have lined up behind him.

But Singh is also scooping up members of the federal NDP caucus, despite having never served in the House of Commons. He has said he won't pursue a seat until 2019 if he wins the leadership.

Last week, Ontario MP Tracey Ramsey joined Singh's team of MPs, which includes longtime Ontario MP Brian Masse and Quebec MP Hélène Laverdière, as well as prominent B.C. MPs Alistair MacGregor, Kennedy Stewart, Randall Garrison, and Jenny Kwan.

B.C. MP Peter Julian told reporters he planned to endorse another contender when he dropped out of the leadership race himself last month, but has not yet done so.

New Democrats begin voting Sept. 18, with results to be revealed in October.

Also on HuffPost: