Paul Dewar wins Charlie Angus’ endorsement for NDP leadership
Jan 13, 2012 – 3:00 PM ET
Paul Dewar, left, and Charlie Angus.
OTTAWA — After four days of anticipation, NDP leadership hopeful Paul Dewar finally revealed on Friday his big surprise announcement — that outspoken Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus has agreed to support his bid to replace Jack Layton.
Dewar also wants Angus to become his deputy if he wins the party’s March leadership race.
“When Charlie offered his support I obviously accepted it. Who wouldn’t? But I asked for more. I asked Charlie to serve as my deputy leader, focused on building our party from the ground up, riding by riding, neighbourhood by neighbourhood in every corner of this country,” he told a crowd of cheering supporters during a news conference in Ottawa that his organizers had been building up since Monday.
“I can tell you there’s no one more experienced in grassroots politics and pragmatic strategies to win in our party than Charlie.”
Angus argued the race for leadership had revealed a stellar roster of candidates but he felt Dewar was “the man” he could see as prime minster in 2015.
“He has the judgement, he has the determination, he has the will and I’ve never seen Paul Dewar pick a fight because it’s expedient. Paul picks the fights that we fight for because it’s the right thing to do,” he said, noting those are the same qualities he saw in Layton.
Dewar also used the opportunity to reveal a new campaign theme.
Dubbed “the next 70,” the goal going forward, he said, is to invest in the organization to ensure New Democrats not only keep the ridings it holds, but that the party adds 70 more seats in 2015 in order to defeat the Conservatives and form government.
Key to that plan is maintaining and building on the unprecedented election of 58 New Democrats in Quebec — 59 before St-Maurice-Champlain MP Lise St-Denis crossed the floor to sit with the Liberals earlier this week.
But while provincial pundits argued in the wake of her defection that NDP support in Quebec was already sliding and that Thomas Mulcair was the only leadership candidate who could really maintain and build on the Orange Wave in that province, Dewar dismissed the idea that choosing a fellow Ontarian as his right-hand man was perhaps not the wisest move.
He argued Quebec pundits failed to predict the party’s major breakthrough in Quebec in May and that the important thing is really building the party across Canada.
In other campaign news, Peggy Nash released her plan for a more innovative Canada. As NDP leader and eventual prime minister, she promised to launch a new Canada Innovation Fund to support research and development at high-tech companies.
She would also expand tax credits to companies that invest in high-tech machinery and equipment, help commercialize research and development that takes place at Canadian universities and other public institutions and build market support for innovative Canadian products and services.
“Under my leadership, the NDP — and the next government — will motivate the investment needed for innovation-led growth and job creation right across our country,” she said.
“It’s time to put Canada back on the global innovation map. A strong and stable economy means prosperous and sustainable communities across the country. And Canadians deserve no less.”
The other five candidates who are vying for leadership of the NDP include MPs Romeo Saganash, Nathan Cullen and Niki Ashton, as well as former NDP president and party strategist Brian Topp and Nova Scotia businessman Martin Singh.
New Democrats will elect a new leader on March 24.