Most memberships, check.

Most money raised, check.

It looks as if Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus is in the driver’s seat of the NDP Leadership race as we hit the halfway point.

And he’s done it in a race hasn’t featured as much flare as most are used to seeing in recent political races (see Conservative leadership race, 2016 US Republican Presidential nomination).

Angus met with local media at Full Beard Brewing in Timmins Thursday afternoon to update where things stand.

He says the race is about respect and an exchange of ideas more than anything.

“We don’t have to light each other’s hair on fire or poke each other on the nose to get media,” he adds, “We’re talking to the base, we’re talking to the people who are interested in the New Democratic party and we’re talking ideas.”

(CLICK HERE to see our coverage of the most recent NDP debate in Newfoundland.)

Angus talked about the overall vibe within this race, which isn’t your typical one where there’s attacks left and right. He says just because another candidate presents an idea, doesn’t mean he’s mandated to oppose it.

“What I want to do is question (it),” he adds, “How are you going to implement it? What does this mean?”

He says the NDP race should be how politics go in general.

“We need to treat each other with respect, and actually listen to one another once in a while,” Angus adds, “I’ve heard some great ideas from Conservatives. That might be blasphemy in some circles. I’ve heard some great ideas from some Liberals. I don’t have to just oppose everything so this race, I think is maybe a way of how do we move forward as a political discussion.”

When posed with the question of what he may have learned from a fellow candidate during the race, he pointed to Quebec MP Guy Caron’s views on guaranteed income.

“I have enormous respect for Guy Caron,” Angus answered, “He’s an economist from Quebec, he’s a smart guy. His discussion on guaranteed income to me is interesting. There’s a lot of questions about it. I’m not opposed to the idea, I’m just saying how do we get there.”

“I think that’s the thing about being open…someone’s coming up with an idea that’s really out of the box. Well, where else should you have that debate than in a leadership debate and part of it isn’t just to shoot it down…but actually say ‘Guy, I really like what you’re suggesting, but I have a number of questions about it.”

Looking into the numbers, there is no concrete number set—though, his lead was confirmed by his media representative Dale Tonelli—and his fundraising?

First quarter numbers released by the New Democratic Party—covering between January 1st and March 31st—Angus was the lone candidate to eclipse $100K. He came in at $110,765, followed by Niki Ashton at $65,521. It should be noted only Angus, Ashton, Caron and Peter Julian were a part of the race at the time.

But Tonelli confirmed he still leads in that department too. But has the lead increased or decreased? The second quarter takes us to the end of June, so we will see how the numbers are trending.

The NDP choose their new leader in October.

Filed under: Local News