"I'm often asked the question, "What got you into politics?"


I always think back to a cold October night in 2000, when I stood on a makeshift barricade on the Adams Mine Road. Across the road, police were lining up for mass arrests. But the people who were holding the line weren't radicals, they were my neighbours - many of them senior citizens and farmers. Up until that moment, I had never considered a life in politics... as I stood on that barricade, I realized that the people who should have been there to protect the public interest had sold us out."

- Charlie Angus, from his book Unlikely Radicals

Watch Charlie's Express BIOGRAPHY
Charlie's MUSIC
Charlie's BOOKS


In this new edition of Charlie Angus's award-winning and bestselling book, he brings us up-to-date on the unrelenting epidemic of youth suicides in Indigenous communities, the Thunder Bay inquiry into the shocking deaths of young people there, the powerful impact of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's final report, and how the Trudeau government's commitment to Indigenous communities continues to be stymied by decades-old policy roadblocks.


Les Costello's story is the stuff of Canadian myth: a child of immigrant parents who finds fame and some fortune on the ice as a star on the Toronto Maple Leafs, with whom he wins the coveted Stanley Cup. At the height of his meteoric sports career, he gives it all up to pursue another dream: to become a parish priest in the northern mining community where he was raised. He quickly earns the respect and love of the community due to his blunt, plainspoken, passionate commitment to social justice.


Based on in-depth oral interviews with local residents, and rich archival sources, We Lived A Life and Then Some relates the common person’s struggle to overcome harsh working conditions and government neglect. The unique culture of the hardrock mining town of Cobalt is exposed through the eyes of retired miners, young welfare mothers, and grade-school children. Angus and Griffin reveal why, in spite of great adversity, Cobalt remains a distinctive and cohesive working-class community.


Headframes dominate the landscape of mining communities in Northeastern Ontario and Northwestern Quebec. Distinctive structures built to house the apparatus at the head of the mine shaft, headframes tower above their surroundings, reminding every resident that without the mine, there would be no reason for their settlement to exist. For the past several years, photographer Louie Palu and writer Charlie Angus have been documenting historic mining sites in the north. Many of these have since been erased from the landscape. Co-produced with Prise de parole.


Life and death in the hard rock mining belt. Photographs from 12 years of documentary research conducted in NE Ontario and NE Quebec 1991-2003


Unearthing the rich heritage of the Porcupine region of Northern Ontario, Charlie Angus takes us on a journey through ethnic neighborhoods, unlicensed joints, and bordellos. Here you won't find the conventional history of "great men and events", but the stories of ordinary immigrants caught up in extraordinary times: pitched street battles, gold smuggling mobsters, and big band dance kings. Searching for the roots of his own identity, Angus recreates the disasters and celebrations that defined life in what was then Canada's multi-ethnic frontier.

Charlie's STORY

Charlie Angus has been the Federal Member of Parliament (MP) for the riding of Timmins-James Bay since 2004. He is a member of the New Democratic Party and currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics and is the NDP Critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs (Youth). Charlie ran as a candidate in the 2017 NDP Federal Leadership Race. Charlie lives in Cobalt, Ontario with his wife, Brit. They have three daughters and a dog named Attila.


Charlie Angus in Cobalt with family
Charlie Angus in Cobalt carrying firewood
Charlie Angus in Cobalt building a greenhouse

Early Years 

Charlie was born in Timmins, Ontario on November 14, 1962. His father, son of a miner, dropped out of school to get a job but in his 40s went to university to become a professor of economics. His mother took care of the family while taking night courses to further her education. Growing up, the Angus home was full of music and debate. After hearing The Clash's first album, Charlie began to imagine how a kid from Nowhere could get active in politics and maybe help change the world.



While growing up in Scarborough in the early 80s, Charlie and childhood friend Andrew Cash formed the punk rock band L'Étranger, holding music rallies to encourage others to get active in political change. At the age of 25, inspired by a biography on Dorothy Day, Charlie and his wife opened a Catholic Worker House for the homeless, refugees and men coming out of prison in downtown Toronto. After leaving L'Étranger, Charlie started the folk-rock band Grievous Angels.


Charlie and his young family moved north to the historic mining town of Cobalt, Ontario. He and his wife ran a publication dedicated to northern culture and politics known as HighGrader Magazine. Charlie became increasingly involved in politics, especially at the local level, through his organizing efforts in opposition to the Adams Mine garbage dump proposal. 


During the fight to stop toxic waste imports to the north, Charlie worked with Jack Layton who encouraged him to run for office. In 2004, Charlie won as the NDP MP candidate in Timmins - James Bay. He was re-elected in the 2006 and 2008 federal elections.


After his first election, Charlie met a young girl from Attawapiskat First Nation, Shannen Koostachin. The children of her community were fighting for a new elementary school and Charlie fought right beside them all the way to Parliament Hill. Following Shannen's death in 2010, and urged by her best friend Chelsea Edwards, Charlie co-founded the campaign Shannen's Dream calling on the federal government to end the underfunding of First Nations schools across Canada. This remains the largest youth-driven, human rights campaign in Canadian history.


Charlie was re-elected for the third time in the 2011 and after winning again in the 2015 federal election, he was appointed NDP Critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs and elected Caucus Chair in January 2016.


In 2011, CTV Power Play voted Charlie one of the top three MPs of the year along with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the late NDP Leader Jack Layton. Charlie has been voted Top Constituency MP in Canada and consistently voted among the most effective opposition MPs in the House of Commons.

Since 2004, Charlie has brought a grassroots, punk rock style of activism to parliament, fighting for underrepresented and marginalized communities.


In the fall of 2019, Charlie was re-elected for a sixth term. He continues to serve as NDP Critic for Ethics, FedNor, Indigenous Youth and Income Inequality and Affordability. He also acts as Deputy Critic for Labour.


In 2020, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health named Charlie one of the year's "Champions for Mental Health". This award was presented in recognition for his work focused on improving life and opportunities for youth in the impoverished reserves in the far North.


In 2021, Charlie was voted Best Mentor for Parliamentarians at the annual Maclean's Parliamentary Awards. He was also nominated for being the Most Knowledgeable MP in the House. These votes came from members from all parties.


For twenty-two years politicians and businessmen pushed for the Adams Mine landfill as a solution to Ontario's garbage disposal crisis. This plan to dump millions of tonnes of waste into the fractured pits of the Adams Mine prompted five separate civil resistance campaigns by a rural region of 35,000 in Northern Ontario. Unlikely Radicals traces the compelling history of the First Nations people and farmers, environmentalists and miners, retirees and volunteers, Anglophones and Francophones who stood side by side to defend their community with mass demonstrations, blockades, and non-violent resistance.

Note: The Timmins-James Bay Federal NDP Association does not receive financial benefit from the sale of music or books.