Jack Layton
Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada
Jack Layton
John Gilbert "Jack" Layton, PC was a Canadian social democratic politician and Leader of the Official Opposition. He was leader of the New Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011, and previously sat on Toronto City Council, occasionally holding the title of "Acting Mayor" or "Deputy Mayor" of Toronto during his tenure as city councillor. He was the Member of Parliament for Toronto—Danforth from 2004 until his death.
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The lesson from Alberta: It’s important to know who you are
iPolitics - almost 2 years
In the wake of Alberta’s remarkable election, a cottage industry dedicated to telling us what it all means has popped up overnight. It’s still early days, but the conclusions should be enough to strike fear into the hearts of the federal Conservatives — and absolute terror into Trudeau’s Liberals. Rachel Notley’s victory in the Conservatives’ back yard is bad news for Stephen Harper’s party, but it could be even worse for the Liberals. Polling numbers for both the provincial Liberals and the NDP were stalled in the high teens for months leading up to the election call — not unlike the stalemate that exists at the federal level. So why was it that Notley’s NDP managed to break away? Political commentators have taken special note of this election because it looked as if Notley came out of nowhere. In fact, she and her party had spent years doing the heavy lifting involved in establishing a distinctive brand, often with little fanfare but with a clear message and tone. During the glar ...
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Olivia Chow's 'My Journey' an exhausting attempt at legacy-building - National Post
Google News - about 3 years
National Post Olivia Chow's 'My Journey' an exhausting attempt at legacy-building National Post Olivia Chow is a good, decent and always well-intentioned person. Her late husband Jack Layton, who took their beloved party, the federal New Democrats, to Official Opposition status for the first time, was equally good, decent and well-intentioned. Olivia Chow recounts abusive upbringing in new memoirVancouver Sun QUOTED: Olivia Chow on whether she'll run for mayorToronto Life Olivia ChowWaterloo Record Toronto Sun all 27 news articles »
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Justin Trudeau's Liberals take comfortable lead in poll - Toronto Sun
Google News - about 3 years
Toronto Star Justin Trudeau's Liberals take comfortable lead in poll Toronto Sun Related Stories. Justin Trudeau says he's proud of party's handing of Kenny sex allegations · Trudeau office slow to investigate sex harassment claims against Liberal senator · Trudeau fails to impress voters · Justin Trudeau tinkers with Layton line, irks NDP ... The politics of joySarnia Observer From Jack Layton to Justin Trudeau: there's no monopoly on 'hope'The Globe and Mail Ontario Liberals keen to ride Justin Trudeau's coattailsToronto Star National Post -Vancouver Sun all 74 news articles »
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Full Pundit: What would Jack Layton do?
Natiobak Post - over 3 years
The newer New Democrats Postmedia’s Michael Den Tandt notes that intransigent economic leftist Linda McQuaig makes very little sense as a star candidate for Tom Mulcair in Toronto Centre, at a time when he’s trying to “shov[e] his left-leaning partisans towards the pragmatic centre.” He notes several “gems” proposed in McQuaig’s latest book: “A 60% tax rate on incomes above $500,000, and 70% above $2.5-million,” for example, and seizing “70% of any large inheritance (above $50-million) at the time of transfer,” which would “in effect … wipe out every large Canadian fortune.” Den Tandt doesn’t think such an outspoken individual could be expected to submit to party discipline, either. We agree (although it’s amazing how smart people can abase themselves in the name of politics). But she’s not going to win, so it doesn’t particularly matter. Tipping hat to Brad Lavigne’s new book about Jack Layton’s rise to Opposition Leader, the Toronto Star‘s Tim Harper imagines how Layton might deal ...
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Natiobak Post article
Jack Layton statue to be unveiled today on Toronto waterfront
Yahoo News - over 3 years
TORONTO - A bronze statue will be unveiled on the Toronto waterfront today in honour of Jack Layton on the second anniversary of the death of the federal NDP leader.
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Yahoo News article
Clark denies NDP claim that she's fear-mongering - Globe and Mail
Google News - almost 4 years
Globe and Mail Clark denies NDP claim that she's fear-mongering Globe and Mail B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark has responded to accusations her party is running a fear-based campaign, insisting she is only pointing out stated facts and vague promises within the B.C. NDP's platform. Last week, Ms. Clark told crowds at several ... BC election campaign turns into a furious firefight with just a week leftThe Province BC Liberals say RESP plan puts 'families first'CBC.ca Jack Layton never too far from Adrian Dix's BC NDP campaignVancouver Sun Straight.com -Victoria Times Colonist all 27 news articles »
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Why Justin Trudeau is betting everything on middle class voters
Canadian Business - almost 4 years
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan On the morning after his election as Liberal leader, Justin Trudeau has published an opinion piece in the Globe & Mail under the headline “Why it’s vital we support the middle class.” While it contains no new policy, the article served as a bookend to his six-month campaign. The plight of the middle class was a major theme of his launch speech and the subject of his first position statement, published as a column in the Toronto Star entitled: “Canadian middle class left out of the growth equation.” Improving economic conditions for Canadian middle class families was the first and last item on the agenda of Trudeau’s leadership campaign. We can expect it to be the bloody-minded focus of his leadership as well. As we explained in our recent cover story, Trudeau’s entire economic agenda is built around a single motto: “A strong economy is the one that provides the largest number of good jobs for the largest number of Canadians.” It’s a phrase de ...
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Canadian Business article
Patrick LaMontagne: Death According to an Editorial Cartoonist
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
Last Friday, I was out for a long weekend at a buddy's cabin in Golden, BC. Just beginning to relax in the sunshine, I got an email alert on my phone. Former Premier of Alberta Ralph Klein had died. I opened a beer, sat in a chair on the deck and went to work. My buddies gave me grief that I was supposed to be relaxing, but I told them I needed a half hour and I began sending emails to daily newspapers across Canada. You see, the editorial cartoon was already done. The files had been on my phone for about a week, ever since the news came out that Ralph Klein was close to the end of his debilitating illness. Yes, it's morbid that from time to time, I make my living from a product that is derived from someone's death. When someone of note, whether political or cultural, is close to death or has died, I often feel like a vulture, sitting on a fencepost, waiting to take advantage of the situation. It's not a great feeling. And it's very difficult to be genuine and not ...
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Huffington Post article
Jack Layton TV movie depicts politician as perfect
Calgary Sun - almost 4 years
Dramatic portrayals of political figures always are touchy and tricky.
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Calgary Sun article
Raffi vs. Cyberbullies
Huffington Post - about 4 years
TORONTO - Children's entertainer and advocate Raffi says he was "shaken" and "angry" when he heard about the death of Amanda Todd, a British Columbia teen who committed suicide in October following years of Internet sexual exploitation and bullying by her peers, and that's why he co-founded the Red Hood Project. Billed as a movement to make social media safe for young users, the project includes a website, a Facebook and Twitter page, and a letter the beloved "Baby Beluga" singer-songwriter co-wrote and sent to Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Nov. 14. The letter, which includes Todd's mother's signature, says that the 15-year-old was blackmailed through Facebook and urges the social media company to correct "the security failures that made such victimization possible." "Of course education of parents and young users is important, we recognize that, but we think the onus ought to be on those businesses — social media companies who create the risk in the f ...
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Huffington Post article
Rob Anders in hot water again
AM 770 CHQR - over 4 years
Calgary-West MP Rob Anders is causing a stir again. Just days after controversy erupted over comments he made about what he thought NDP leader Tom Mulcair's role in Jack Layton's death was, he's drawing the ire of more people. This time it's over a petition on his website regarding Bill C-279, which he claims is aimed at giving "trans-gendered men access to women's public washroom facilities". It goes on to say "it is the duty of the House of Commons to protect and safeguard our children from any exposure and harm that will come from giving a man access to women's facilities". It's upset some on Twitter, with comments flooding in, including that Anders "is proof that some ridings would elect a turnip to office if it was dressed in the right party colours" and that "ignorance must be his middle name."
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AM 770 CHQR article
Comment on Reflections on Jack Layton by H. (Bart) Vincelette
Canadian Christianity - over 4 years
The problem is revealed with the religious concept of having political & religious enemies as opposed to opponents. Having real political & religious enemies is reserved for homosexual persons in Canada who face opposition to their very existence, & see opposition to every move for equality. This is always accompanied by lies, slander, defamation & innuendo which are totally unrelated to the ancient writings of the Old Testament that are routinely employed as evidence of the disapproval of some deity.
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Canadian Christianity article
“They Say ‘Stay Home,’ We Say ‘Fight Back!’”
Huffington Post - over 4 years
TORONTO -- Last night at Christie Pits, hundreds of people gathered with one clear focus – stopping rape culture in their community. The event, organized by social activists Farrah Khan, Anni Spadafora and Liz Brockest was a call to action based on the recent string of sexual assaults in the nearby area. Though organized mainly on Facebook and through word of mouth, a large and spirited crowd gathered at the park at 7 p.m., including many local politicians. Cheri DiNovo, MPP for Parkdale and High-Park spoke passionately about her 45 years of “taking back the night,” and her desire to see a safer world for her grandchildren. “What I’m really here to say is, ‘you’re not alone,’” she said in an interview. “This is not about the way a woman dresses, or about the way a woman looks. We don’t ask men what they were wearing, we don’t ask men to stay off the streets at night. We shouldn’t have to do it for our daughters.” Other prominent local politicians included NDP MPP J ...
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Huffington Post article
State funeral for late NDP leader Jack Layton cost $368,326: document
Brandon Sun - over 4 years
OTTAWA - Last year's state funeral for Jack Layton came with a sizable price tag, newly released figures show. The late NDP leader's final farewell last summer cost taxpayers $368,326 — more than the total bill for the recent state funerals of two former governors general. The Department of
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Brandon Sun article
Dippers shameless in exploiting Layton’s memory
Calgary Sun - over 4 years
Jack Layton was a great fellow. He was kindly, he was successful, he had a keen mind. He was much loved by his supporters and much admired by his political adversaries. That much we know.
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Calgary Sun article
Jack Layton remembered on Parliament Hill [Photos] [Video]
Calgary Sun - over 4 years
One year after his untimely death, Jack Layton's memory and message live on.
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Calgary Sun article
Hundreds pack Parliament Hill for Layton memorial - Calgary Herald
Google News - over 4 years
CBC.ca Hundreds pack Parliament Hill for Layton memorial Calgary Herald OTTAWA — Hundreds of people gathered on Parliament Hill Wednesday morning to mark the first anniversary of former NDP leader Jack Layton's death and to celebrate the life of the man who led his party to official Opposition status for the first time. Wednesdays with @Kady replay: Layton's legacy, one year laterCBC.ca Partisanship, grief on display on first anniversary of Layton deathMontreal Gazette Jack Layton: 'Imagine' we just 'Let It Be'National Post CTV News -Globe and Mail all 519 news articles »
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Mr. Ordinary: Jack Layton was OK. Nothing more, nothing less [Video]
Calgary Sun - over 4 years
The time of waiting has come to an end, and like a child embracing the dawn on Christmas Day I feel my heart bursting with a fulfilled anticipation.
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Calgary Sun article
Sook-Yin Lee To Play Olivia Chow In Jack Layton Movie
Moviefone Blog - over 4 years
Less than a year after his untimely death, the cameras have already started rolling on a made-for-TV Jack Layton biopic titled "Smilin' Jack: The Jack Layton Story." Canadian actor Rick Roberts ("Republic of Doyle," "Pontypool") is playing Layton, while seasoned broadcaster, actress and filmmaker Sook-Yin Lee ("Year of the Carnivore") will tackle the role of Olivia Chow. "Being Erica"'s Erin Karpluk and "Air Force One"'s Wendy Crewson will also appear in the film. Self-described couch potato Roberts has been ramping up his fitness routine to play the athletic Layton. He has also been brushing up on his French, Cantonese and guitar-playing skills to prepare to play the man of many, many talents. Lee says this is a project close to her heart, since her little sister Deanna was diagnosed with cancer last year. "I saw firsthand the kind of strength and courage it takes to live with the disease. Jack and Olivia were an amazing team in life, love and politics," Lee noted in a relea ...
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Moviefone Blog article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Jack Layton
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2011
    Age 60
    Layton died on August 22, 2011, after being diagnosed with cancer.
    More Details Hide Details He was survived by his wife of 23 years and fellow Toronto MP Olivia Chow. Details of the type and spread of the cancer, and the exact cause of death, were not released to the public. Shortly before, he had named Nycole Turmel as interim leader of the New Democratic Party and, consequently, of the Official Opposition; Thomas Mulcair won the NDP leadership contest to replace Layton. John Gilbert "Jack" Layton was born in Montreal and raised in nearby Hudson, Quebec, a largely Anglophone community. His parents were Doris Elizabeth (Steeves), a grand-niece of William Steeves, a Father of Confederation, and Progressive Conservative MP Robert Layton. He was elected student council president of his high school, Hudson High School, and his yearbook predicted that he would become a politician; he would later also credit Billy Bryans, who went on to become a prominent musician with the band The Parachute Club, for having played a role in his student council victory. He graduated from McGill University in 1970 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in political science and became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
    Layton was accorded a state funeral by the Governor-General-in-Council, which took place between August 25 and 27, 2011, with the final memorial service at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.
    More Details Hide Details Layton was the second Leader of the Official Opposition to die while in office; the first, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, had been a former prime minister, and so a state funeral was consistent with protocol. Layton was the first opposition leader to die for whom a state funeral would not otherwise have been afforded, but Prime Minister Harper made the offer to Layton's widow who accepted. Layton was cremated following the funeral. A portion of his ashes was scattered under a jack pine planted on Toronto Island in his honour, with a second portion scattered at the Layton family's plot at Cote St. Charles United Church in Hudson, Quebec. A third portion was scattered under a memorial sculpted by Chow, placed at the Toronto Necropolis Cemetery on the first anniversary of his death. Layton's life is portrayed in a 2013 television movie entitled Jack, with Rick Roberts portraying Layton and Sook-Yin Lee as Olivia Chow. The cast also includes Wendy Crewson and Erin Karpluk. It was released on March 10, 2013, and aired on CBC Television.
    He was hoping to return as leader of the NDP upon the resumption of the House of Commons on September 19, 2011.
    More Details Hide Details Layton recommended that NDP caucus chair Nycole Turmel serve as interim leader during his leave of absence.
    After Parliament rose for the summer, Layton announced on July 25, 2011 that he would be taking a temporary leave from his post to fight an unspecified, newly diagnosed cancer.
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    Following the 2011 federal election, Layton led the party into the first month of the new session of Parliament, as well as attending the NDP Federal Convention in Vancouver.
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    In the May 2, 2011, election, Layton led the NDP to 103 seats, more than double its previous high.
    More Details Hide Details This was also enough to make the NDP the Official Opposition in the Commons for the first time ever. The NDP gains were partly due to a major surge in Quebec as the party won 59 of the province's 75 seats, dominating Montreal and sweeping Quebec City and the Outaouais, although the NDP also won more seats than any other opposition party in the rest of Canada. The NDP had gone into the election with only one seat in Quebec, that of Thomas Mulcair, and had won but a single seat in the province historically (Phil Edmonston in a 1990 by-election). Many of these gains came at the expense of the Bloc, which was reduced to a four-seat rump without official party status in Parliament. On February 5, 2010, Layton announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He noted that his father Robert Layton had the same type of cancer 17 years before and recovered from it. His wife, Olivia Chow, had thyroid cancer a few years before. He vowed to beat the cancer and said it would not interrupt his duties as member of Parliament or as leader of the NDP.
    On April 29, 2011, a retired police officer told the Sun News Network and the Toronto Sun newspaper that in 1996, Layton had been found in a massage parlour when police, looking for underage Asian sex workers, raided the establishment.
    More Details Hide Details The police informed Layton of the potentially questionable use of the business and recommended that he avoid it in the future. No charges were filed. The Sun later ran a follow-up piece, in which Toronto city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti criticized Layton. Layton has said there was no wrongdoing in the matter, saying that he simply "went for a massage at a community clinic" and did not return after the police advised him not to. He also referred to the release of the police report as a smear campaign against him. Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe also dismissed the claim. A columnist for the National Post suggested that it was a Liberal insider that leaked the story, although a Liberal Party spokesman denied that they had anything to do with it. A subsequent Toronto Star column stated that most contributors to online discussions agreed there was a smear campaign against Layton. As for political damage from this story, that same day's update of the Nanos Leadership Index, which assesses public opinion on the Canadian federal leaders' trustworthiness, competence and vision for Canada, Layton rose from 80% to 97%, surpassing Harper at 88% and Ignatieff at 39%. The polling company speculated this improvement is due to strong sympathy by the public for a political candidate they judged as being unfairly maligned. The Toronto police launched an investigation into how official police notes were leaked to Sun Media. Police notebooks are closely guarded and may contain unfounded and unproven allegations.
    On February 4, 2011 Layton attended a rally against Usage Based Billing in Toronto with MPs Dan McTeague, Olivia Chow, Peggy Nash and others.
    More Details Hide Details His attendance at this rally was accompanied by several press releases by the NDP denouncing metered internet usage in Canada. The NDP surge began in Quebec, with the NDP surprising many observers by surpassing the previously front-running Bloc in Quebec. In Canada overall, the NDP surged past the Liberals to take the second place behind the Conservatives; in Quebec, the NDP took first place. The NDP surge became the dominant narrative of the last week of the campaign, as other parties turned their attacks on the party and Layton.
    In the 2011 election Layton led the NDP to the most successful result in the party's history, winning 103 seats—enough to form Canada's Official Opposition.
    More Details Hide Details Federal support for Layton and the NDP in the election was unprecedented, especially in the province of Quebec where the party won 59 out of 75 seats.
  • FIFTIES
  • 2010
    Age 59
    Layton's son, Mike was elected to Toronto City Council in the 2010 city council election.
    More Details Hide Details The Conservative government was defeated in a no-confidence vote on March 25, 2011, with the motion gaining full support of all opposition parties including the New Democrats, after the government was found in contempt of parliament. This was the first occurrence in Commonwealth history of a government in the Westminster parliamentary tradition losing the confidence of the House of Commons on the grounds of contempt of parliament. The no-confidence motion was carried with a vote of 156 in favour of the motion, and 145 against, thus resulting in the Prime Minister advising a dissolution of parliament and a federal election. The day after the successful passing of the motion, Layton started the NDP election campaign, first with a speech in Ottawa followed later in the day by an event in Edmonton, Alberta. Questions about Layton's health due to a recent hip surgery were often directed to him during the campaign, with Layton insisting that he was healthy enough to lead. On March 29, 2011, the New Democrats presented their first real campaign promise, a proposal to cap credit card rates in order to reduce credit card debt.
  • 2009
    Age 58
    In October 2009, Layton paired up with the Stephen Lewis Foundation to raise money for HIV/AIDS affected families in Africa.
    More Details Hide Details As part of the foundation's A Dare to Remember campaign, Layton busked on a busy street corner.
    In March 2009, the NDP, under Layton's leadership, re-introduced a motion (first passed June 3, 2008) which, if implemented, would allow conscientious objectors to the Iraq War to remain in Canada.
    More Details Hide Details The motion again passed March 30, 2009, by 129–125, but it was non-binding. In a leadership review vote held at the NDP's August 2009 federal policy convention, 89.25% of delegates voted against holding a leadership convention to replace Layton.
    On January 28, 2009, the Liberals agreed to support the Conservative budget with an amendment, ending the possibility of the coalition, so Layton said "Today we have learned that you can't trust Mr. Ignatieff to oppose Mr. Harper.
    More Details Hide Details If you oppose Mr. Harper and you want a new government, I urge you to support the NDP."
  • 2008
    Age 57
    In October 2008, Layton posted an online video message speaking out in favour of net neutrality, torrent sites, video-sharing sites, and social-networking sites.
    More Details Hide Details In a separate interview he said that increasing corporate control "is very, very dangerous and we have put the whole issue of net neutrality right into the heart of our campaign platform", and that the Internet is "a public tool for exchanging ideas and I particularly want to say that if we don’t fight to preserve it, we could lose it." In the end, the NDP gained 8 new seats, taking its tally to 37. This result still left the NDP as Canada's fourth party, behind the Bloc Québécois with 50. The NDP managed to retain Outremont, held by Thomas Mulcair, its only seat in the province. The 40th session of parliament began on November 27, 2008, with a fiscal update by the Conservatives that outlined their agenda for the upcoming term. This included a temporary suspension of Federal employees' right to strike and a removal of monetary subsidies for political parties. All three opposition parties including the NDP stated that they could not support this position. Layton along with Liberal leader Stéphane Dion and Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe began negotiations to form a coalition that would replace the Conservatives as the government. The three opposition parties planned to table a motion of non-confidence in the House of Commons, and counted on the likelihood that the Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, would invite the coalition to govern instead of dissolving parliament and calling an election so soon after the last election.
    Layton dropped his opposition to May's inclusion on September 10, 2008. "This whole issue of debating about the debate has become a distraction to the real debate that needs to happen", Layton said. "I have only one condition for this debate and that is that the prime minister is there."
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    Layton started off the 2008 federal election campaign with a speech similar to that of US presidential nominee Barack Obama.
    More Details Hide Details Layton denied he was trying to draw comparisons with Obama, saying "I mean, I am a lot shorter than he is. He is a brilliant orator. I'm never going to claim to be that. But what I have noticed is that the key issues faced by the American middle class, the working people of the U.S. and their concerns about their families' futures, are awfully similar to the issues that I hear in Canada." Layton said that he has also written to Obama and Hillary Clinton saying that the North American Free Trade Agreement had hurt working people in both countries "and those stories have to be told." Layton, along with Prime Minister Harper and Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe, initially opposed the inclusion of Green Party leader Elizabeth May in the leaders' televised debates. Layton initially said that he was following the rules of the broadcast consortium, while NDP spokesman Brad Lavigne confirmed that Layton had refused to attend if May was present, noting that May had endorsed Liberal leader Stéphane Dion for prime minister, and arguing that her inclusion would in effect give the Liberals two representatives at the debate. Rod Love, former chief of staff to Ralph Klein, suggested that the Greens could potentially cut into the NDP's support. Layton's stance drew criticism from the YWCA, Judy Rebick, and members of his own party.
    On June 11, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made it known that he had received private counsel from Layton on the matter of Indian residential schools and the apology to former students of the schools.
    More Details Hide Details Before delivering the apology, Harper thanked Layton.
    On June 3, 2008, Layton voted to implement a program which would "allow conscientious objectors... to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations... to... remain in Canada " Layton led the NDP to be instrumental in taking action on the peace issue of Canada and Iraq War resisters.
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  • 2006
    Age 55
    He released his proposed changes to the "Clean Air Act" on November 19, 2006.
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    Layton and his caucus voted to support the new proposed rules for income trusts introduced by the Conservatives October 31, 2006.
    More Details Hide Details The short-term result of the tax policy announcement was a loss to Canadian investors of $20 billion, the largest ever loss attributed to a change in government policy. Layton threatened to move a motion of non-confidence against the government over the "Clean Air Act" unless action was taken to improve the bill and its approach to environmental policy. Prime Minister Harper agreed to put an end to the Parliamentary logjam by sending the bill to a special legislative committee before second reading.
    On September 24, 2006, he met with Afghan president Hamid Karzai to discuss the NDP position.
    More Details Hide Details After the meeting Layton stated that Canada's role should be focused on traditional peacekeeping and reconstruction rather than in a front line combat role currently taking place.
    At the NDP's 22nd Convention, held on September 10, 2006, in Quebec City, Layton received a 92% approval rating in a leadership vote, tying former Reform Party leader Preston Manning's record for this kind of voting.
    More Details Hide Details This record was broken in 2016 by Elizabeth May of the Green Party of Canada. At the same convention, the NDP passed a motion calling for the return of Canadian Forces from Afghanistan.
    A motion of non-confidence followed, moved by Stephen Harper and seconded by Layton, triggering the 2006 federal election. On March 26, 2011, in response to Harper's allegations that a coalition is not a legitimate or principled way to form government, Duceppe stated that Harper had once tried to form a coalition government with the Bloc and NDP.
    More Details Hide Details In 2004 Stephen Harper privately met with Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe and New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton in a Montreal hotel. The meeting that took place between the three party leaders happened 2 months before the federal election. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise, this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority. On the same day the letter was written, the three party leaders held a joint press conference at which they expressed their intent to co-operate on changing parliamentary rules, and to request that the Governor General consult with them before deciding to call an election. At the news conference, Harper said "It is the Parliament that's supposed to run the country, not just the largest party and the single leader of that party. That's a criticism I've had and that we've had and that most Canadians have had for a long, long time now so this is an opportunity to start to change that." However, at the time, Harper and the two other opposition leaders denied trying to form a coalition government. Harper said, "This is not a coalition, but this is a co-operative effort."
    With a vote scheduled for January 23, 2006, many New Democrats expected Layton to deliver substantially more seats than he did in 2004.
    More Details Hide Details They hoped the NDP would hold the balance of power in a new minority parliament, so that they could carry additional leverage in negotiating with the governing party. Mike Klander, the executive vice-president of the federal Liberals' Ontario wing, resigned after making posts on his blog comparing Chow to a Chow Chow dog and calling her husband an "asshole". Through the course of the campaign, Layton attempted to cast himself as the sole remaining champion of universal health care. Some opinion polls showed that Canadians found Layton the most appealing and charismatic of the leaders. Layton repeatedly insisted that "Canadians have a third choice", and urged Liberals to "lend us your vote". Some commentators and pundits mocked Layton for over-using these catchphrases instead of explaining the NDP platform.
    The NDP saw further gains in the 2006 and 2008 elections, in which the party elected 29 and 37 MPs, respectively.
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  • 2005
    Age 54
    In mid-November 2005, when Liberal support dropped after the Gomery Commission delivered its first report, Layton offered the Prime Minister several conditions in return for the NDP's continued support, most notably on the issue of privatization of health care in Canada, where Layton wanted strict provisions for controlling public spending on private health care delivery, saying that without "significant action" on the issue, "Mr. Martin can't count on our support."
    More Details Hide Details Martin for his part offered no comment on a meeting held to discuss the issue, only saying that it was a "good meeting", while Layton publicly expressed his disappointment at the outcome. Layton announced he would introduce a motion requesting a February election. However, the Martin government refused to allow the election date to be decided by the opposition.
  • 2004
    Age 53
    The NDP's strategy had changed in that they were focusing their attacks on the Liberals rather than in 2004 where they criticized both the Liberals and Conservatives in equal measure prompting some criticism from Paul Martin.
    More Details Hide Details Andrew Coyne suggested that the NDP not only wanted to disassociate themselves from the scandal-ridden Liberals, but also because the Liberals were likely to receive credit for legislation achieved under the Liberal-NDP partnership. The NDP had also lost close races in the 2004 election due to the Liberals' strategic voting. Early in the campaign, NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis had asked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to launch a criminal investigation into the leaking of the income trust announcement. The criminal probe seriously damaged the Liberal campaign and preventing them from making their key policy announcements, as well as bringing alleged Liberal corruption back into the spotlight. Layton's campaign direction also caused a break between him and Canadian Auto Workers union head Buzz Hargrove over the issue of strategic voting. Hargrove preferred a Liberal minority government supported by the NDP and he had earlier criticized Layton for participating in the motion of non-confidence that brought down the Liberal government. Hargrove allied with the Liberals and publicly stated that he "did not like the campaign that Jack Layton was running", criticizing Layton for "spending too much time attacking the Liberals". During the final week of the campaign, knowing that last-minute strategic voting had cost the NDP seats in several close ridings during the 2004 election, Hargrove and Martin urged all progressive voters to unite behind the Liberal banner to stop a Conservative government.
    During the 2004 Canadian federal election, controversy erupted over Layton's accusation that Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin was responsible for the deaths of homeless people because he failed to provide funding for affordable housing.
    More Details Hide Details While rates of homelessness and homeless deaths increased during the eleven years of Liberal government, the link to Martin's decisions was indirect as affordable housing is a mainly provincial jurisdiction. Layton's charge was defended by some, including the Ottawa Citizen, but most attacked it as inaccurate and negative campaigning. Moreover, the controversy consumed the campaign, overshadowing policy announcements over the next week. Further controversy followed as Layton suggested the removal of the Clarity Act, considered by some to be vital to keeping Quebec in Canada and by others as undemocratic, and promised to recognize any declaration of independence by Quebec after a referendum. This position was not part of the NDP's official party policy, leading some high-profile party members, such as NDP House Leader Bill Blaikie and former NDP leader Alexa McDonough, to publicly indicate that they did not share Layton's views. His position on the Clarity Act was reversed in the 2006 election to one of support.
    Layton did not seek election to the House of Commons by running in a by-election, as is the tradition among new party leaders without a seat. Instead, he waited until the 2004 federal election to contest the riding of Toronto—Danforth against Liberal Dennis Mills.
    More Details Hide Details With no seat in the House of Commons, he appointed the runner-up, longtime Winnipeg-area MP Bill Blaikie, as parliamentary leader. Although he had no parliamentary seat, Layton was noted for drawing considerable attention from the Canadian mass media. Much of his rhetoric involved attacking the policies of then Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin as conservative, and arguing the ideology of the Liberal Party of Canada had shifted in a more right wing direction. Another focus of Layton's leadership was to focus the party's efforts on Quebec, one of the party's weaker provinces. One of his opponents in the leadership race, Pierre Ducasse, was the first Québécois to run for leader of the NDP. After the race, Layton appointed Ducasse as his Quebec lieutenant and party spokesperson. The result of Layton's efforts was a strong increase in the party's support. By the end of 2003, the party was polling higher than both the Canadian Alliance or the Progressive Conservatives and it was even suggested that the next election could see the NDP in place as official opposition.
  • 2003
    Age 52
    Layton was elected Leader of the NDP at the party's leadership convention in Toronto, on January 25, 2003.
    More Details Hide Details Layton won on the first ballot with 53.5% of the vote, defeating Bill Blaikie, Lorne Nystrom, Joe Comartin and Pierre Ducasse. His campaign was focused on the need to reinvigorate the party, and was prominently endorsed by former NDP leader Ed Broadbent.
    In 2003, he was elected leader of the NDP on the first ballot of the convention.
    More Details Hide Details Under his leadership, support for the NDP increased in each election. The party's popular vote almost doubled in the 2004 election, which gave the NDP the balance of power in Paul Martin's minority government. In May 2005 the NDP supported the Liberal budget in exchange for major amendments, in what was promoted as Canada's "First NDP budget". In November of that year, Layton voted with other opposition parties to defeat the Liberal government over the findings of the Gomery Commission.
    He was leader of the New Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011, and previously sat on Toronto City Council, occasionally holding the title of acting mayor or deputy mayor of Toronto during his tenure as city councillor.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1999
    Age 48
    In June 1999, as chair of Toronto's environmental task force, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, he was instrumental in the preliminary phases of the WindShare wind power cooperative in Toronto through the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative.
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  • 1997
    Age 46
    Federally, he ran again in the 1997 election, this time in the neighbouring riding of Toronto—Danforth, but lost to incumbent Dennis Mills by a wide margin.
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  • 1994
    Age 43
    In 1994, he returned to Metropolitan Toronto Council, succeeding Roger Hollander in the Don River ward, and he resumed his high-profile role in local politics; following the "megacity" merger of Metropolitan Toronto into the current city of Toronto, he was again re-elected to Toronto City Council, serving alongside Pam McConnell in a two-member ward.
    More Details Hide Details He remained on Toronto City Council until pursuing the leadership of the federal New Democrats. He also came to national attention as the leader of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
  • 1993
    Age 42
    In 1993, he ran for the Canadian House of Commons in the riding of Rosedale for the NDP, but finished fourth in the generally Liberal riding.
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  • 1991
    Age 40
    In 1991, he ran for mayor, losing to June Rowlands.
    More Details Hide Details Returning to council, he rose to become head of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
    In November 1991, Layton co-founded the White Ribbon Campaign of men working to end male violence against women.
    More Details Hide Details Layton returned to academia and also founded the Green Catalyst Group Inc., an environmental consulting business.
    In February 1991, Layton became the first official NDP candidate for the mayoralty, pitting him against centrist incumbent Art Eggleton.
    More Details Hide Details In a move that surprised many, Eggleton elected not to run again. Layton was opposed by three right-of-centre candidates: Susan Fish, June Rowlands, and Betty Disero. Right-wing support soon coalesced around former city councillor Rowlands, preventing the internal divisions Layton needed to win office. Layton was also hurt by the growing unpopularity of the provincial NDP government of Bob Rae, and by his earlier opposition to Toronto's Olympic bid. Bid organizer Paul Henderson accused Layton and his allies of costing Toronto the event. Despite this, October polls showed Layton only four points behind Rowlands, with 36% support. However, on October 17, Fish, a former provincial Tory cabinet minister who had only 19% support, pulled out of the race, and many of her supporters moved to Rowlands. Layton lost the November 12 election by a considerable margin. However, in the same election Olivia Chow easily won a seat on city council.
    Originally known for coming to council meetings in blue jeans with unkempt hair, Layton worked to change his image to run for mayor in the 1991 civic election.
    More Details Hide Details He also started wearing contact lenses, abandoning his glasses, and traded in his blue jeans for suits.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1990
    Age 39
    In June 1990, the city's solicitor cleared the couple of any wrongdoing, and later that month, Layton and Chow left the co-op and bought a house in Toronto's Chinatown together with Chow's mother, a move they said had been planned for some time.
    More Details Hide Details Former Toronto mayor John Sewell later wrote in NOW that rival Toronto city councillor Tom Jakobek had given the story to Tom Kerr.
    Layton and Chow were also the subject of some dispute when a June 14, 1990, Toronto Star article by Tom Kerr accused them of unfairly living in a housing cooperative subsidized by the federal government, despite their high income.
    More Details Hide Details Layton and Chow had both lived in the Hazelburn co-op since 1985, and lived together in an $800 per month three-bedroom apartment after their marriage in 1988. By 1990, their combined annual income was $120,000, and in March of that year they began voluntarily paying an additional $325 per month to offset their share of the co-op's Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation subsidy, the only members of the co-op to do so. In response to the article, the co-op's board argued that having mixed-income tenants was crucial to the success of co-ops, and that the laws deliberately set aside apartments for those willing to pay market rates, such as Layton and Chow. During the late 1980s and early 1990s they maintained approximately 30% of their units as low income units and provided the rest at what they considered market rent.
  • 1988
    Age 37
    On July 9, 1988, he married Hong Kong-born Toronto District School Board trustee Olivia Chow in a ceremony on Algonquin Island.
    More Details Hide Details Their whitewater rafting honeymoon plans had to be abandoned, however, when days before the wedding Layton collided with a newspaper box while bicycling. Chow later joined Layton on the Toronto City Council. She has been a candidate for the federal New Democrats five times, first winning her seat the third time in a close race against Tony Ianno in the 2006 Canadian election, and re-elected in 2008 and 2011. Chow resigned from federal politics in 2014 to run for Mayor of Toronto, she placed third.
    In the 1988 municipal elections, Layton traded places with city council ally Dale Martin, with Martin going to Metro and Layton returning to Toronto City Council.
    More Details Hide Details Layton was easily elected in a contest with former high school teacher Lois MacMillan-Walker. The election was a major victory for Layton as the reformist coalition of which he was the de facto head gained control of city council, the first time in city history a coalition of New Democrats and independents controlled council.
  • 1985
    Age 34
    In 1985, he moved to the Metropolitan Toronto council, in the first direct elections for members of that body.
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  • 1984
    Age 33
    In 1984, he was fined for trespassing when he handed out leaflets at the Toronto Eaton Centre during a strike by Eaton's staff, but the charge was later thrown out on freedom of speech grounds.
    More Details Hide Details Layton was also one of the few opponents to Toronto's bid for the 1996 Summer Olympics.
  • 1983
    Age 32
    Layton and Halford's marriage ended in divorce in 1983 after 14 years.
    More Details Hide Details Layton first met Olivia Chow in 1985 during an auction at Village by the Grange, in which Jack was the auctioneer and Olivia was the interpreter for the Cantonese language observers. They had been previously acquainted, however they realized that they were both candidates in the upcoming election and decided to have lunch together to talk about the campaign. Three weeks after the auction, they went on their first date. Olivia's mother did not approve of Jack at first, because of his race as well as him not being a lawyer or doctor. Jack was invited to dinner at the home of Olivia's mother, where they also played mahjong. After the dinner, Jack attempted to thank Olivia's mother in Cantonese, however Jack's incorrect tone had him inadvertently saying, "Thank you for the good sex." Layton stated "My faux pas broke the ice completely. We've been good buddies ever since."
  • 1982
    Age 31
    At York and Ryerson, Layton developed close links with a number of Toronto figures including John Sewell and David Crombie. He was first elected to Toronto City Council in 1982, in a surprise upset against incumbent Gordon Chong.
    More Details Hide Details He quickly became one of the most outspoken members of council, and a leader of the left wing. He was one of the most vocal opponents of the massive SkyDome project, and an early advocate for rights for AIDS patients.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1974
    Age 23
    In 1974, Layton became a professor at Ryerson Polytechincal Institute (now Ryerson University).
    More Details Hide Details Over the next decade, he taught at Ryerson, York, and University of Toronto. He also became a prominent activist for a variety of causes. He wrote several books, including Homelessness: The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis and a book on general public policy, Speaking Out. Layton's great-granduncle, William Steeves, was a Father of Confederation. His great-grandfather Philip E. Layton was a blind activist who founded the Montreal Association for the Blind in 1908 and led a campaign for disability pensions in the 1930s. Philip was the senior partner in the family business, Layton Bros. Pianos. Layton Pianos had been made in London, England since 1837, and Philip had emigrated to Montreal at the age of 19. Philip was a blind organist, composer ("Dominion March", played on carillon at Jack's lying-in-state), piano tuner, and piano retailer. The family business survives as Layton Audio in Montreal.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1970
    Age 19
    In 1970, the family moved to Toronto where Layton graduated the following year from York University with a Master of Arts in political science; and later in 1983, he completed his Doctor of Philosophy in political science at York.
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  • 1969
    Age 18
    In 1969, at age 19, Jack married his high school sweetheart Sally Halford, with whom he had two children, Mike, currently a Toronto City Councillor, and Sarah, currently a senior staffer for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
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    In 1969–70, he was the Prime Minister of the Quebec Youth Parliament.
    More Details Hide Details Layton credited a professor at McGill, the political philosopher Charles Taylor, with being the primary influence in his decision to switch from a science degree to an arts degree. Moreover, it was on Taylor's advice that he pursued his doctorate at University of Toronto to study under political philosopher C. B. Macpherson. In what is perhaps Layton's most complete articulation of his political philosophy, a foreword he wrote for Canadian Idealism and the Philosophy of Freedom, he explains that, "The idealist current holds that human society has the potential to achieve liberty when people work together to form a society in which equality means more than negative liberty, the absolute and protected right to run races against each other to determine winners. Idealists imagine a positive liberty that enables us to build together toward common objectives that fulfill and even surpass our individual goals." Upon reading Canadian Idealism and the Philosophy of Freedom, Layton came to understand himself as part of the intellectual tradition of Canadian Idealists.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1950
    Born
    Born on July 18, 1950.
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