We deeply regret to inform you that the Honourable Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, passed away at 4:45 am today, Monday August 22. He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones.
a statement from Layton’s wife, Olivia Chow, and Layton’s children Michael and Sarah.
While I knew of his fight against cancer, I was shocked to hear of his passing this morning. Last month he announced that he was temporarily stepping down for medical treatment and that came as a surprise because such a move would seem to indicate a more serious condition than he let on, and also that I wouldn’t have recognized his voice if I didn’t know it was him. Still, it didn’t enter my mind that he wouldn’t live another month.
There is much in Layton’s politics that I don’t agree with, but I always liked him as a person. He seemed a decent guy who one could easily talk to. That’s true of almost no one else in politics today.
He took leadership of the Federal NDP in 2003 and ever since I can remember, the NDP have always been a presence on the Canadian Federal landscape, but they’ve never had a real chance at winning. I’ve even heard people claim that a vote for the NDP is a vote thrown away because they don’t have a chance. While I don’t believe a vote cast is ever thrown away, the NDP didn’t have a chance for most of Layton’s time as leader. Despite this, he soldiered on and I respect him for it. He was relentless and it paid off in the last election. The NDP won 103 seats, as compared to a pre-election total of 37 and the all-time NDP high of 43, making the NDP the official opposition for the first time.
Although he didn’t get my vote, Canadian politics is a better place because of his participation. I’ll miss him.
Photo courtesy of CBC News.