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Biography Jack Layton

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Jack Layton Jack Layton
Jack Layton
Former leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) (from 2003 to 2011). Died on August 22, 2011.
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Jack Layton Biography

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John Gilbert "Jack" Layton PC MP (July 18, 1950 – August 22, 2011) was a Canadian social democratic politician and the Leader of the Official Opposition. He was the leader of the New Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011, and previously sat on Toronto City Council, serving at times during that period as acting mayor and deputy mayor of Toronto. He was the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Toronto—Danforth from 2004 until his death.  The son of a Progressive Conservative cabinet minister, Layton was raised in Hudson, Quebec. He rose to prominence in Toronto municipal politics where he was one of the most prominent left-wing voices on city and Metropolitan Toronto councils, and was also a Board member for the Toronto Port Authority. In 1991, he ran for mayor, but lost to June Rowlands. Returning to council he rose to become head of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. In 2003, he was elected head of the NDP on the first ballot of the convention. Under his leadership, the NDP considerably increased their support, almost doubling the party's popular vote in the 2004 election, though vote splitting with the Liberals limited their gain in seats. Layton's NDP held balance of power in Paul Martin's minority government, where 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 worked with other opposition parties in bringing down the Liberal government over the findings of the Gomery Commission.  The NDP saw further gains in the 2006 and 2008 elections, in which the party won more seats than it had since its 1980s peak. The NDP's tally of 37 MPs under Layton in the 2008 election was just six seats short of the party's previous all-time high under Ed Broadbent. In the 2011 election, Layton led the NDP to a historic total of 103 seats and formed the Official Opposition. The success of the NDP in the election was unprecedented, making Layton the most successful leader electorally in the party's history in terms of seats won. Layton died on August 22, 2011, aged 61, after suffering from an undisclosed type of cancer. He was married to fellow MP Olivia Chow.

 

Biography

The son of a Progressive Conservative cabinet minister, Layton was raised in Hudson, Quebec. He rose to prominence in Toronto municipal politics where he was one of the most prominent left wing voices on city and metro council, and was also a Board member for the Toronto Harbour Commission. In 1991 he ran for mayor, but lost to June Rowlands. Remaining on council he rose to become head of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. In 2003 he was elected head of the NDP on the first ballot of the convention.



Under his leadership, the NDP considerably increased their support, almost doubling the party's popular vote in the 2004 election, though vote splitting with the Liberals limited their gain in seats. Layton's NDP held balance of power in the Paul Martin's minority government, where 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 worked with other opposition parties in bringing down the Liberal government over the findings of the Gomery Commission. The NDP saw further gains in the 2006 and 2008 elections, in which the party won more seats than it had since its 1980s peak. The NDP's current tally of 37 MPs under Layton is just 6 seats short of the party's all-time high under Ed Broadbent.

 

Illness and death

On February 5, 2010, Layton announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He noted that his father Robert Layton had suffered from the same type of cancer 17 years before and recovered from it. His wife, Olivia Chow, had battled 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.

 

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. 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. He was hoping to return as leader of the NDP upon the resumption of the House of Commons on September 19, 2011. Layton recommended that NDP caucus chair Nycole Turmel serve as interim leader during his leave of absence. Layton died at 4:45 am ET on August 22, 2011, at his home in Toronto. He was 61 years old.

 

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5th November

2011-11-18

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