View Full Version : Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton Dies

Monday, August 22nd, 2011, 06:47 PM
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Jack Layton, the charismatic leader of the New Democratic Party, died on Monday just months after guiding his party to its strongest ever performance in the May federal election.
Layton, 61, had almost single-handedly turned his leftist party from the smallest bloc in the House of Commons to the second largest in the House of Commons.

"He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones," a statement from his family said.

The cheerful former municipal politician from Toronto had won admiration for his bravado and stamina on the campaign trail, pumping a walking cane in the air soon after a hip operation and treatment for prostate cancer.
Rather than making him look weak, pundits said it gave the ever-cheerful Layton a warmer image than his political rivals, boosting his party's popularity even as Stephen Harper's Conservatives were returned to office with a majority.

The NDP's strong showing meant that the party displaced the Liberals as the official opposition in the House of Commons. It will retain that status until the next election, due in 2015, but will have to redefine itself in Layton's absence.

Although the Conservatives dismissed the NDP as tax-loving socialists, Layton had nudged the party toward the center, effectively splitting the left-of-center vote.

During the 2011 campaign he promised to balance the budget in four years by boosting corporate taxes and raising other revenues to offset tens of billions in new spending.

He also promised a carbon cap-and-trade program and said he would yank billions of dollars in subsidies away from oil companies, while still painting himself as nonthreatening to investors and business.

Layton stepped down temporarily in July in order to fight a new bout of cancer, passing the baton to former labor leader Nycole Turmel, who is serving as interim leader.


Monday, August 22nd, 2011, 07:15 PM
Having family members who died from cancer, it's always unfortunate to see a human being suffer and die from it. When I first saw the clip of the press conference where he stated--in a noticeably different voice--that he was taking a leave of absence to deal with this new cancer, it was pretty clear that he did not have long to live. The way the party tried to put a positive spin on this by saying that he would win this battle too and would return in September to me just typifies the complete detachment from reality that many of these socialists have.

This has been all over the news, and of course the CBC is gone into overdrive covering the story even though, in the end, he was only the leader of a third-rate socialist political party for just eight years, and had only been official leader of the opposition for about three months thanks to many disaffected Quebec separatists.

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011, 11:53 PM
Enough already with the Jack Layton bs. I can't stand how the media is trying to portray him as the nice guy, a man of the people, even that he's "united the country" in grief.

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011, 11:04 PM
"Layton, 61, had almost single-handedly turned his leftist party from the "

Leftist? I thought NDP was a far right party?

Thursday, August 25th, 2011, 12:00 AM
Good to see that there is at least one journalist with a more rational perspective on this, and isn't afraid write about it at this time.

The PM in fact was one of a very few voices of reason to be found on the airwaves — he remembered Mr. Layton kindly and with evident regard, but he had perspective and did not fawn.

And what to make of that astonishing letter, widely hailed as Mr. Layton’s magnificent from-the-grave cri de coeur?

It was extraordinary, though it is not Mr. Solomon’s repeated use of that word that makes it so.

Rather, it’s remarkable because it shows what a canny, relentless, thoroughly ambitious fellow Mr. Layton was. Even on Saturday, two days before he died, he managed to keep a gimlet eye on all the campaigns to come.

The letter is full of such sophistry as “We can restore our good name in the world,” as though it is a given Canada has somehow lost that, bumper-sticker slogans of the “love is better than anger” ilk and ruthlessly partisan politicking (“You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together with progressive-minded Canadians across the country,” he said in the section meant for Quebecers).

The letter is vainglorious too.

Who thinks to leave a 1,000-word missive meant for public consumption and released by his family and the party mid-day, happily just as Mr. Solomon and his fellows were in danger of running out of pap? Who seriously writes of himself, “All my life I have worked to make things better”?

The letter was first presented as Mr. Layton’s last message to Canadians, as something written by him on his deathbed; only later was it more fully described as having been “crafted” with party president Brian Topp, Mr. Layton’s chief of staff Anne McGrath and his wife and fellow NDP MP Olivia Chow.

Mr. Layton wrote it, as Mr. Topp told Mr. Solomon, “in his beautiful, energy-retrofitted house” in downtown Toronto. These people never stop.

The reaction to his death — it was still shocking how fast it came, despite his cadaverous appearance in late July when he stepped down, temporarily it was hoped — was universally described as unique and of course, the day’s adjective, as extraordinary.

Held out as evidence of Canadians’ great love for Mr. Layton were the makeshift memorials of flowers, notes that appeared at his Toronto constituency office and on Parliament Hill, and in condolences in social media.

In truth, none of that is remotely unusual, or spontaneous, but rather the norm in the modern world, and it has been thus since Princess Diana died, the phenomenon now fed if not led online. People the planet over routinely weep for those they have never met and in some instances likely never much thought about before; what once would have been deemed mawkish is now considered perfectly appropriate.

Certainly, Canadians liked Mr. Layton, but the public over-the-top nature of such events — by fans for lost celebrities they never met, by television personalities for those they interviewed once for 10 minutes, by the sad and lost for the dead — make it if not impossible then difficult to separate the mourning wheat from the mourning chaff. His loss — his specific loss and his specific accomplishments — are thus diminished.


Thursday, August 25th, 2011, 12:16 AM
he was a good man i met him twise his was kind and polite. at the time he anwsered all my questions. on the other side of the coin i did not like his politics then again i dont like any of the politians politics. we should beable to govern our selves.

Thursday, August 25th, 2011, 05:11 AM
Well he was a politician and was adept at being likable and seeming genuine and sincere. Only natural when one wants to succeed at the game and earn a good living and all the perks that come with political life. I'm not sure how this translates into his being a "good man," though. In the end he was a socialist, probably harboured more radical beliefs than he let on. The Marxist brand of socialism which he and the NDP have been trying to impose on Canada has had a proven track record of being oppressive and economically a failure. I can't see how Canada has really benefited from Jack Layton or the NDP, while I can certainly see where our country has not.