John Horgan, other NDP politicians, and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan name their favourite Canadian films

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      This is the day when film lovers are celebrating Canadian cinema at more than 1,700 events across the country.

      As part of National Canadian Film Day 150, there are also many free screenings in Vancouver. (See the map at the bottom for times and locations.)

      In advance of the big day, I ran into a group of NDP politicians at last weekend's Vancouver Vaisakhi parade and asked them about their favourite Canadian films.

      B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan chose Quebec director Michael Thelin's 2015 thriller Emelie about a babysitter who isn't who she claims to be.

      When asked why he chose this film, Horgan replied: "Because my son introduced it to me. He's a multilingual speaker. That was a way to broaden my understanding of the country. He was right."

      Perhaps not surprisingly, former farmworkers activist and Burnaby-Edmonds NDP candidate Raj Chouhan chose the stirring 1981 National Film Board documentary A Time to Rise as his favourite. Directed by Jim Munro and Anand Patwardhan, it chronicled B.C. farmworkers' struggle to unionize.

      Here's a little-known fact: the sound editor on A Time to Rise was Nettie Wild, who went on to become one of Vancouver's most celebrated documentary makers.

      Vancouver-Point Grey NDP candidate David Eby chose Allan Moyle's 1990 comedy-drama Pump Up the Volume as his favourite Canadian film.

      Eby called it "a fantastic movie about pirate radio".

      Moyle was born in Shawinigan, Quebec, which is also the birthplace of former prime minister Jean Chrétien.

      "It was the film that got me into campus radio at the University of Waterloo and in Halifax at Dalhousie," Eby said. "It's a story about young people being left out of society and consideration. It was great. At the time I saw it when I was young, it really spoke to me."

      Vancouver-Fairview NDP candidate George Heyman chose two Canadian films as his favourites.

      He described Donald Shebb's critically acclaimed 1970 film, Goin' Down the Road, as a "classic" in Canadian cinema.

      Heyman also praised Quebec director Denys Arcand's The Barbarian Invasions, which was about a dying womanizing history professor being reuinited with old friends.

      "It's so complex," Heyman said. "It deals with interrelationships between families, between men and women, between dying and living. It's just an amazing film."

      NDP politicians David Eby, Don Davies, and George Heyman got into a lively discussion about Canadian films outside the Ross Street temple.
      Charlie Smith

      Standing beside Heyman, Vancouver Kingsway NDP MP Don Davies quipped that The Barbarian Invasions "may even be timely" today, given that Kellie Leitch and Kevin O'Learey are seeking the federal Conservative party leadership.

      On a more serious note, Davies cited two Canadian films as his favourites.

      The first was Anne Wheeler's Bye Bye Blues, a 1989 film about a Second World War-era jazz singer named Daisy Cooper, played by Vancouver actor and jazz singer Rebecca Jenkins.

      Davies' other favourite Canadian film was Barney's Version, a 2010 comedy-drama directed by Richard J. Lewis and adapted from Mordecai Richler's best-selling novel.

      I also spotted Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan at the Vaisakhi parade as he was walking with a group of people.

      When asked for his favourite Canadian film, Sajjan named Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, a 2001 epic directed by Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk.