Three days before New Democrats begin voting for their next federal leader, a Vancouver party stalwart has thrown her support behind Charlie Angus.
"I landed with Charlie because, well, he has this common touch, and smile, and fierceness that draws me along the political path ahead of us," former deputy leader Libby Davies said in a statement. "A path where we rebuild, grow, reach, honour our roots, showing what New Democrats are about."
Davies, the NDP MP for Vancouver East from 1997 to 2015, opened her statement by mentioning that she has a picture of Angus, the NDP MP for Timmins–James Bay, visiting a small northern community in the bitter cold.
"He's listening carefully to the people gathered who are describing what it feels like to have no clean running water in housing that lets too much water in," she noted. "He's nodding his head, listening. He goes back to Ottawa and does some more research on the issue and goes to Question Period, his arm raised in the air, pointing towards the Prime Minister, a grim look on his face, demanding to know why, still, they have failed the people."
Then Davies described another picture in her head, this time with Angus as prime minister, returning to the community. The housing is warm and safe, the school is operating, and the water supply is working well.
"Has he got the skills and qualities we need?" Davies asked. "Has he got the care and compassion that drives him forward every day? I do believe he has all those things."
Meanwhile, Angus has also been criticized by some B.C. New Democrats for not speaking out forcefully against the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
East Vancouver musician Geoff Berner, for instance, wrote a Facebook post this week claiming that Angus "doggedly evades taking a position...in a transparent effort to cadge votes from Alberta".
"All candidates are flawed, but here's why I pick [Jagmeet] Singh: Clarity," Berner wrote. "His clear stance on decriminializing possession of all illegal drugs, instead of 'looking at' it. His clear stance against Quebec's racist bill 62, instead of saying 'that being said' and then bowing in the direction of Quebec 'secularism', and his clear stance on the Kinder Morgan pipeline. He's also the better speaker, the better organizer, the most clear in his language overall."
Singh has the support of many NDP provincial and federal politicians, including Peter Julian, Kennedy Stewart, Jenny Kwan, Lana Popham, Bruce Ralston, and Harry Bains.
Environmentalist David Suzuki, on the other hand, has backed Angus's candidacy, praising him as "a bridge builder bringing together farmers, blue-collar workers, Indigenous peoples, and environmental activists".
The two other candidates are Manitoba MP Niki Ashton and Quebec MP Guy Caron.
New Democrats will cast ballots between September 18 and October 1.