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Jack Layton

Would Jack Layton campaign with cancer?

Jack Layton 57%

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The short answer to the question posed in this blog post title is: Yes.

And it's not just an academic question. When Parliament resumes on March 3, there are going to be several confidence votes right out of the gate. First, the Speech from the Throne will be delivered on March 3 and the budget will be delivered on March 4. Votes on the budget are automaticlly votes of confidence. I'm sure I need remind no readers of this blog that a government that loses a vote of confidence in the House of Commons must, in almost all circumstances, ask the Governor General to dissolve Parliament and call a general election. There will be several votes stemming from the throne speech that are, by tradition but not automatically, votes of confidence. And then there may be votes of confidence over motions the House has already passed requiring the government to produce documents connected to an investigation into the treatment of prisoners captured by Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

Until last fall, NDP MPs could be counted on to enthusiastically vote against the government on any confidence vote, eager for a general election.

But now, their leader, Jack Layton, has prostate cancer and is undergoing treatment for the disease. Neither he nor aides are disclosing details of the treatment but most cancer survivors will say that, whether its surgery or drug therapies, beating cancer can leave one feeling weak and in need of time for rest and recovery.

Today, in a scrum following a meeting Layton had with Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the budget, I asked Layton if the battle he's fighting will weaken his or his party's resolve to vote down the government, if necessary, in a confidence vote. His answer:

"No. It will make no difference to the enthusiasm with which our party carries forward our mission which is to change the old politics that we've seen for so many years and try and establish a new direction fo. the country."


By David Akin


Source: National Post (Feb 19,2010)

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