NDP leader Jack Layton dies this morning from cancer at the age of 61.

Just a few months after leading the NDP to its greatest victory in federal politics, le bon Jack had the fruits of that victory suddenly snatched from him by death.

Did Jack Layton leave a political legacy.  Did he change the face of Canadian politics?

Certainly his victory in the last federal election was historic.  In addition he drove the Liberal party into a small redoubt from which they may never recover.

Layton, a Quebecker,  celebrated Quebec nationalism.  He talked about future taalks to bring Quebec into the constitution.  He was open to stronger language laws in Quebec to protect the French language.

He expanded many times over the reach of the NDP party in Quebec.

He reduced the Bloc Quebecois to a parliamentary rump.

He  established the NDP as the government-in-waiting in Ottawa.

Jack Layton’s political time was cut short.  But it seems to me he accomplished much.

Did Jack Layton leave a political legacy?

What do you think?


  1. 1
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Yes, he did.

    Dear, sweet Jack left Canada a nice little gift as he was leaving: a separatist as the Leader of the Official Opposition and half his caucus (ie, its Quebec MPs) of quasi-separatists who will, of course, be going their own way (ie, join the Bloc) as soon as they realize the rest of Canada has had their fill of this crap.

    Thanks a whole f**king lot, Jack.

  2. 2
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Neil: do you REALLY believe, as you wrote above, that language laws “protect the French language”?

  3. 3
    Barbara Says:

    In case you haven’t read it yet, here is Jack Layton’s last letter to his party and to the people of Canada: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/08/22/pol-layton-last-letter.html

    As one of my former students posted on facebook — I dare you to read this letter without tearing up. A man with a great heart and integrity always leaves a legacy.

  4. 4
    Neil McKenty Says:


    Thanks for alerting us to Jack’s moving letter.

  5. 5

    I used to refer to Jack as “the little banty rooster”, until this last election where he gained my respect.
    I am so sorry to hear that he didn’t live long enough to enjoy being the opposition leader, after so many years of good work.
    Sad, very sad!

  6. 6

    I loathed his politics, but at the same time, I very much admired him as a man. He was that rarest of creatures — a socialist who actually liked individual people. And he was a man who was truly admired even by his political opponents.

    No tears from me, Barbara. He was what he was even before he was dying. He did not change, but peoples’ perception of him has changed.

  7. 7
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Barbara: I read it, I did not tear up.

    Perhaps it was because I kept reminding myself while reading it that socialists like to spend other people’s money.

    Or perhaps it was because Layton had the audacity to refer to himself as a Quebecer but didn’t actually RUN in Quebec, almost certainly because he never figured he’d win in Quebec preferring instead a much safer seat.

    Or perhaps it was his reference to his “beloved Canada” that rang hollow as I couldn’t help remembering his party’s Sherbrooke Declaration which read like a manifesto of the PQ’s.

  8. 8
    Cate McB Says:

    LOL Tony — the whole Western economic system is based on spending “other people’s money”. Harper does it everyday to benefit especially his vested interests in private enterprise and often to the detriment of the general public of Canada, especially those not fortunate enough to join Harper and his cronies in what might be called the corporate elite who share in benefits the average citizen can only dream about but pay dearly for.

    And “Layton had the audacity to refer to himself as a Quebecer” (????). He was born in Quebec so he was a life-long Quebecer. No Audacity was needed.

  9. 9
    Neil McKenty Says:

    The record will show that Jack Layton made an enormous contribution to this country – more than any other NDP leader since Tommy Douglas. His contribution will be even larger when the NDP and the Liberals amalgamate.

    Jack Layton was loved in his home province of Quebec.

    Any other view is rubbish.

  10. 10
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    So tell us, Neil, exactly what were Layton’s accomplishments?

  11. 11

    Tony. CBC’s Peter Mansbridge, did a great piece on Jack Layton last night, with informative commentary.

  12. 12
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Ton y, for Jack’s accomplishments, you can check out the post on this blog.

  13. 13


    It is said “You can’t shame a snake.” You can only shame Scrooge in an old story at Christmas. But Scrooge is alive and well and living in luxury in North America today. And Jack Layton might have turned the tide and helped us.


  14. 14
    Neil McKenty Says:


    I share your plaudits for le bon Jack. Many thanks.

  15. 15

    Neil responds to me that to see Layton’s accomplishments I can read his post on this blog.

    So, let’s see those “accomplishments” that Neil delineated, above:

    Certainly his victory in the last federal election was historic. In addition he drove the Liberal party into a small redoubt from which they may never recover.

    That’s a political accomplishment, Neil, that does and did nothing for the country or to further any policies…and time will tell whether this will bear fruit. I suspect it won’t considering Layton’s and the NDP’s pandering to Quebec nationalism.

    Layton, a Quebecker, celebrated Quebec nationalism.

    I don’t call celebrating a philosophy that violates human rights, is xenophobic, and intolerant towards others anything to cheer about.

    He talked about future taalks to bring Quebec into the constitution.

    Oh, yes! How wonderful! The last time that was attempted, the insatiable Quebec nationalist beast brought the country to the brink of ending. I remember a certain referendum in 1995 that such an exercise culminated in.

    He was open to stronger language laws in Quebec to protect the French language.

    Are you on the same planet as the rest of us, Neil? That’s an accomplishment? To violate more human rights????

    He expanded many times over the reach of the NDP party in Quebec.

    Again, a political accomplishment that does nothing for anyone other than the partisans of the NDP, their cronies, and those that belly up to the trough to get in line for their booty.

    He reduced the Bloc Quebecois to a parliamentary rump.

    Yes, he did…by promising Quebecers all sorts of quasi-separatist and xenophobic new laws to ram down the throats of minorities. Please.

    He established the NDP as the government-in-waiting in Ottawa.

    Again, a political accomplishment that does nothing for the country.

    A piss-poor list of accomplishments, Neil, by any standard of measurement.

  16. 16

    I too was troubled by Jack Layton’s bending toward Quebec nationalists. That, more than anything, was what kept me from voting – not only not voting for the NDP but – seeing no one I could in good conscience support – I “voted” only by declaring my views on my blog which has now seen 30,000 readers from around the globe. I could never vote for “the lesser evil” and that meant I could not support anyone in the elections. That does not take anything away from the fact that Jack Layton was a man of noble values and I still believe he would have done us all a lot of good had he lived.

  17. 17

    These are articles about VOTING that I have published on my blog.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011
    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

  18. 18
    Jim Brown Says:

    I feel that Layton captured a lot of racist french voters scared of a Civil War with freedom loving Canadians. So yes, he did accomplish a lot but so did Arrow Cross in Hungary … Although they went much further than Layton in that they cut out more body parts than English tongues…

  19. 19
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    An afterthought: with the subsequent announcement by Steve Jobs of his resignation from Apple, it got me thinking of the contrasts between these two victims of cancer: one a taker who has done ZERO for humanity except espouse a philosophy of class warfare, divisiveness, and pandering to the lowest common denominator; and the other a giver whose entrepreneurship and vision has made life better and easier for millions if not billions of people.

  20. 20
    Neil McKenty Says:


    Your assessment of Jack Layton’s accomplishments is total and absolute rubbish.

  21. 21
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    As usual, Neil, a well thought out, reasoned, and well documented retort. You do Jack Layton’s memory proud.

  22. 22
    Melanie Says:

    By the way Tony… Jack did win a riding in Quebec, I actually believe he won 59. Didn’t you see the orange Quebec map on election night???

    And to answer your question about his accomplishments…

    Before politics he taught at all three of Toronto’s universities.

    After the École Polytechnique massacre on December 6, 1989, where 14 women were killed by an anti-feminist, a movement appeared in Canada of wearing the white ribbon to signify opposition to violence against women.
    Jack is one of the founder of the White Ribbon Campaign, an effort to get men to speak out against violence towards women. One of the co-founders, Michael Kaufman, remembers how Jack helped save the campaign early in its history—by offering to mortgage the house he and Olivia Chow shared so that the campaign could pay its bills. The campaign has now spread to over 57 countries around the world. It is now an international effort of men and boys working to end violence against women.

    Working with designer David Dennis to make Toronto bike-friendly, he popularized the ring and post fixture, the first of which was installed in 1985 in Toronto. Layton always claimed the initial design happened on a bar napkin (something Dennis denied) but that wasn’t the only way he made the city bike-friendly . He fought to get bikes allowed on the TTC, and created the city’s first cycling committee—working outside of council at the beginning, until the city officially recognized their work.

    In 1987, he advocates for the creation of a city-funded education team to help combat the AIDS crisis in Toronto. He led the funding of HIV/AIDS programs from the city , which was still very early in the history of the outbreak in North America.

    In 1992 he helped found the Toronto Atmospheric Fund with money from the sale of city lands. While right-wing critics have panned the TAF as a “slush fund”, the reality is it’s had a profound impact on the environmental footprint of this city, from helping to start massive city successes like Enwave, or the investments in wind energy throughout the province of Ontario.

    At the federal level he pass a motion calling for the country’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, pressing the prime minister to amend the Clean Air Act and voting to extend asylum to U.S. soldiers not wanting to fight in Iraq.

    He also fought for aboriginal issues, and was given credit by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008 for his role in shaping the federal government’s apology for the residential school system.

    He also helped open the first food bank in Toronto, rode his bike to work and renovated is house making it energy self sufficient.

    Those are just a few examples… I firmly believe the best would of been to come.

  23. 23

    The vultures are out. I don’t listen to CJAD radio, but I overheard a couple of calls before I realized I had accidentally set my tuner to CJAD. The two callers were slamming Jack Layton. It is disgusting that mean spirited, greedy people are given air time on CJAD. I stopped listening to that station many years ago. It was my misfortune to have let that bit of garbage intrude on my life on this sad day.

  24. 24

    Since we’re on the subject of NDP leaders, here’s an interesting tidbit on former NDP leader and Greatest Canadian of all time, Tommy Douglas:

    Tommy Douglas supported eugenics and advocated the castration of gays!

    Source: http://www.bloggingcanadians.ca/ConservativeBlogs/Tommy_Douglas_Says_The_Darndest_Things/

  25. 25
    Neil McKenty Says:


    Thanks for sharing your extremely well=informed comment about Jack Layton with us.

  26. 26
    Don Bos Says:

    Jack was nothong more than a blood sucking political leach, who fed at the public trough for years along with hiw wife – he really knew how to play dthe system dtohis advantage.

    He did absolutely nodthing positive for Canada. He had a silver tondgue that allowed him dto suck many in to his political BS. His politics would completely ruin Canada.

    Prime Minister Harpoer owes all Canadians an apology for financing this funeral – a shame to all of Canada.

  27. 27
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    …and any dubious, allegedly good works by Layton are all completely negated by his pandering to and courting of xenophobic, hate-filled, human-rights-violating Quebec nationalism.

    The last time this Pandora’s Box was opened — by Sorcerer’s Apprentice Brian Mulroney — Canada came within a whisker of ending.

    You simply have to stick by those values that you know to be right or this time out you WILL lose your country.

  28. 28
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Jack Layton’s legacy was the Sherbrooke Declaration which essentially said to Quebec Natoonalists that:
    – if you achieve a 50% 1 “yes” vote in a sovereignty referendun that thos is enough for you, Quebec, to declare a unilateral declaration of independence;
    – We, Canada, will NOT stop you from separating and will NOT use the resources of the Canadian government to stop you EVEN THOUGH YOUR ACTIONS VIOLATE THE RULE OF LAW AND THE CONSTITUTION AND INTERNATIONAL LAW.

    This, folks, is the very seed of revolution, chaos, and suffering. This is what Jack Layton has planted. This is the legacy he has left you.

    And you want to praise the man and his memory? I, for one, will have no part of this soppy, hypocritical exercise.

    Canada: they gave a country and nobody came.

  29. 29
    joe agnost Says:

    Don Bos is right… Layton was a slimy, opportunistic politician. Kinda typical that way.

    The outpouring of emotion over his death really turns my stomach. And a state funeral? Give me a break.

    They made WAY too much out of this. Any death is sad but the circus around Layton’s death makes a mockery of his life.

  30. 30
    Neil McKenty Says:


    You say that the outpouring of grief over Jack Layton’s death t urned your stomach. I was tempted to say I hope you will be sick for a long time but then I remembered Jack said we should all respect and love one another. So get well soon.

  31. 31
    joe agnost Says:

    It turned my stomach because it was so superficial and pathetic. These “mourners” didn’t care about Jack – they just got caught up in something big and went along for the ride. Totally superficial.

    Janice Kennedy wrote an op-ed in this weekends citizen which I read… it’s spot on:


    All this superficial crap is tainting Jack’s ~real~ legacy and making him something he is not.

  32. 32

    All I know is that I am just so happy that the rebel movement were victorious in the civil war. Qaddafi is finally out of the picture and Libya is now able to move on to a new phase in history! Gilda Wroe from Clipperton Island

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