Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus is calling a message from the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie powerful. Downie spoke about the north during what will likely be the Hip’s final show on Saturday night. The band’s lead singer says what is happening in the far north is possibly the worst it’s ever been, and the country has to start righting some wrongs.

Angus, who is also the NDP Critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs, says Downie had all of Canada listening in a really profound concert. He says the singer could have called out on anything, but he chose to speak out on the need to get our act together in dealing with the poverty and the crisis facing northern First Nation communities. Angus says those words speak to the incredible personality of who Gord Downie is.

Angus also points out Downie is putting his money where his mouth is. He says at the height of the Attawapiskat housing crisis when there was so much meanness being portrayed, particularly online, Downie went up there with the band, performed, and wrote a song about the remote First Nation community. Angus says that goes to show Downie is the real deal.

Angus says it’s time for the government to step up to the plate. He says seeing Downie call that out to the almost 12-million Canadians who watched or listened to the concert, shows the nation wants to get the issue fixed. He says a couple key areas the government can start with are the ongoing housing crisis, or the gaps in the education system.

Since the Hip’s show on Saturday, the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research has raised around $265,000 and is continuing to grow. You can make a donation to the fund on the Sunnybrook Hospital’s website.

Angus also reminisced about the few times he had the opportunity to meet Gord Downie. Listen to that audio below: