Forums > Personal > Jack Layton stepping down as NDP leader

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Posted: 26 Jul 11, 12:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

To those outside of Canada, here's a quick 411 on Canadian politics:

There are three major parties (in order from right to left) - conservative, liberal, new democratic party.  Jack Layton is the leader of the NDP, and is likely this country's most respected political leader in a generation - probably since Pierre Trudeau.  Even amongst people who think he's too left wing, he is consistently lauded as the one leader in office whose politics are always in second place to his love for his country.  Very few people from any political stripe don't like him.  It's almost impossible not to.

After winning over 100 seats in the last election, the NDP are now the opposition for the first time (instead of the liberals, who were decimated).  The party that brought Canada universal health care is one step closer to being in power some day.  A major step, although they don't really have any power now since the conservatives won a majority.

Jack Layton has been battling cancer for the last couple years, and at a press conference yesterday he appeared and sounded very frail while announcing he's "temporarily" stepping down as NDP leader to focus on his health.  This may be the biggest news in Canadian politics in over 25 years.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2011/07/25/layton-ndp.html

Over the last decade, Jack has been the strongest voice in trying to distance Canada from Americanizing our political system.  In the last 5 years under Stephen Harper, Canada's has moved so far right, and our international reputation on issues such as foreign policy and the environment has been tarnished, with a major blow being the loss of our UN security council seat last year.  Canada needs Jack Layton now more than ever.  Hope he pulls through.


"The more generous you are with your music, the more it comes back to you." -- Dan Lampinski



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Posted: 26 Jul 11, 20:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I hope he gets well! Cancer is such an awful beast, it would be a shame if we lose a strong, reputable politician such as Mr. Layton so soon :-(

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Posted: 27 Jul 11, 22:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

As a Canadian, and a minor, I hope Jack gets better soon. I'm not an NDP person, but he's a great guy. I probably would have voted NDP either way, since voting Liberal or Conservative would have made no difference in my area. (Rosemount in Montreal; they're all a bunch of separatists.)


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Posted: 28 Jul 11, 17:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Is that one of the 3 or 4 ridings that's still Bloc?

I have to say, that was another nice thing about the last election ... with the Bloc being destroyed, it was nice to know that most of Quebec is Canadian after all.


"The more generous you are with your music, the more it comes back to you." -- Dan Lampinski



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Posted: 28 Jul 11, 23:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sir GH wrote: Is that one of the 3 or 4 ridings that's still Bloc?

I have to say, that was another nice thing about the last election ... with the Bloc being destroyed, it was nice to know that most of Quebec is Canadian after all.

======================================================================

No actually! It was truly amazing how the NDP actually got our seat! My dad said that ever since he started following politics, he never remembers our area getting something other than Bloc, except when Trudeau was in.

Honestly, I hate the separatists, but in the end, all they wanna do is keep their language and cultu- never mind. I was forced to learn french and it sucks cause it's the only subject I didn't get over 80% in. I got 79%. DAMN YOU SECOND HONOURS!!!!!

But, as long as we stay a country, I'm fine. As soon as Quebec becomes it's own country (which I highly doubt), I'm moving to Ontario. 

And honestly, Gilles Duceppe is a pretty cool and down to earth guy. If he wasn't a separatist, I'd actually care about what he says.


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Posted: 29 Jul 11, 12:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

For sure.  If you remove separatism from Duceppe, he is a charismatic left wing politician, similar to Layton.  After Layton said the Bloc were like a hockey team with five defensemen, the people of Quebec realized that Layton was pretty much the same kind of guy, but with one major difference - he was a federalist.  So they went for it, and here we are.


"The more generous you are with your music, the more it comes back to you." -- Dan Lampinski



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Posted: 22 Aug 11, 08:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Jack Layton passed away this morning. :-(

Not everyone agreed with his political views, but he was certainly the most liked politician here in decades.  This is so incredibly cruel, as he was at his peak.


"The more generous you are with your music, the more it comes back to you." -- Dan Lampinski



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Posted: 22 Aug 11, 10:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It was rather a shock to see that he succumbed so fast, I for one hadn't expected it.


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Posted: 22 Aug 11, 11:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Indeed, it was very fast.  He still looked fine three months ago.

I'm absolutely gutted.  This is a man who made people who didn't care about politics care about politics.  He was one in a million.  And it sucks that it will take his death for people in this country to finally realize that it's right to fight for everyone, not just for the rich.

"He embodied, and knew how to defend with vigor and conviction, the values closest to the hearts of Canadians. His determination, his love of the country, his optimism, his great compassion, his ability to listen, his personal warmth, and his open-mindedness, are all qualities that will be missed." -- Michaelle Jean, our last governor general

How many politicians could one say that about?


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Posted: 22 Aug 11, 11:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It was hardly fast Bob.  I'll eat Quebec if he didn't know exactly what he was facing by early spring.  Hip bones don't generally spontaneously shatter in healthy 60 year olds, and reporters were already sniffing around.  He denied that the cancer had spread.   Now we have a radically and historically altered electoral map based solely on the personal popularity of Jack Layton, and no Jack Layton.  As a human being I find it immensely sad that a man at that stage of his life and work lost his cancer batter.   As a Canadian citizen, I still find it immensely sad on a personal level, but I'm battling a little resentment as well for the fact that we were sent to the polls without information that we maybe should have had.

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Posted: 22 Aug 11, 14:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Jack was one in a million. I hate to say this, but I think that the Bloc is gonna have one hell of a come back in 2015. Without Jack, I don't think the NDP will ever do this well any time soon. That also will mean a Conservative minority, because with Bob Rae there, who can actually answer questions, and is one hell of a lot more charismatic, a lot more people will vote Liberal.

This is what I see in the next election:
Conservative: 124 seats
Liberal: 103 seats
Bloc: 50 seats
NDP: 37 seats
Green: 1 seat
Other: 0 seats

Familiar???

Rest in Peace & Love Jack. Hopefully what I "foresee" won't happen.


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Posted: 22 Aug 11, 14:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

GratefulFan wrote:

I'm battling a little resentment as well for the fact that we were sent to the polls without information that we maybe should have had.

====================

People may have voted for Layton and connected with his personal touch, but his beliefs, policies and goals aren't purely his own - his party shares them.  The NDP's goals are bigger than one person (as big as he was), and they will live on through his party.  Perhaps the NDP will never get as many votes again without him, but that will be because the party won't be able to replace him with someone of his charisma and dedication to their country - not because they resent that his health records weren't made public.  They have four years to prove themselves.

Besides, he made his health very public.  And yes, cancer can be that quick.  He appeared very healthy during the campaign and even in June at the NDP convention in Vancouver.  At the press conference in July he looked like a corpse.  Cancer can take you in weeks if it wants to.

As for going to the polls without information, it would have been nice if the G20 paper trail was made public before the election, not afterward.  When Stephen Harper can have the auditor general muzzled, you know this country is heading down a dark road for the next four years.  Even if your argument is valid, Layton's health cannot remotely compare to this travesty of corruption.


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Posted: 22 Aug 11, 14:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

MadTheSwine73 wrote:

with Bob Rae there, who can actually answer questions, and is one hell of a lot more charismatic, a lot more people will vote Liberal.

========================

Bob Rae won't be the Liberal leader in 2015.  He is currently the interim leader, and when they selected the interim leader there were two clauses - a) they would not pursue merging with the NDP, and b) they could not run to be the permanent leader at the leadership convention this autumn.

Rae is unelectable in Ontario, so they made the absolute right choice in picking him to be the interim leader.  He can hold the fort for now, and they'll (hopefully) pick some young, fresh blood to become the leader later this year.  But if they blow it and the NDP pick a good leader to pick up from where Jack left off, we may see the NDP in power in four years.  Jack's death is going to bring his party's goals to the centre of attention for the next little while, so it's not out of the question.

But .. today isn't a day for politics.  The country is mourning the loss of a great man, and that's where things should stand at least for a little while.


"The more generous you are with your music, the more it comes back to you." -- Dan Lampinski



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Posted: 22 Aug 11, 15:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sir GH wrote:

Besides, he made his health very public. 
==========================

No he most certainly didn't.  Any more out of me on this today however would be extraordinarily insensitive.  I'll revive this topic in a few weeks if I think of it.

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Posted: 22 Aug 11, 16:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sir GH wrote:

GratefulFan wrote:

I'm battling a little resentment as well for the fact that we were sent to the polls without information that we maybe should have had.


As for going to the polls without information, it would have been nice if the G20 paper trail was made public before the election, not afterward.  When Stephen Harper can have the auditor general muzzled, you know this country is heading down a dark road for the next four years.  Even if your argument is valid, Layton's health cannot remotely compare to this travesty of corruption.


Too right. Anyone who cannot place the ghastly G20 findings by the A.G. (whether in leaked or in official form) above any supposed non-declarations about a certain politician's personal health, is a right damn fool not worthy of even participating in the election voting process in my eyes.

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Posted: 22 Aug 11, 16:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Harper got the perfect election he wanted after all: Bloc Quebecois are dead in the water, Liberals are heavily decimated, and now Jack Layton is out of the way (unfortunately replaced with a new leader who previously unbeknownst to the Canadian general public has had separatist ties in the past).

No-one can easily stand up to Harper and his hounds now. We're fucked :(

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Posted: 22 Aug 11, 17:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Nah, don't feel so grim.  It's not like his policies and goals died with him !

Who knows, maybe the flag will be passed to his wife.  She's probably the most recognizable face in the party at the moment.  Regardless, they have four years to get their act together.


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Posted: 22 Aug 11, 17:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

True.

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Posted: 22 Aug 11, 20:56 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

inu-liger wrote:
Too right. Anyone who cannot place the ghastly G20 findings by the A.G. (whether in leaked or in official form) above any supposed non-declarations about a certain politician's personal health, is a right damn fool not worthy of even participating in the election voting process in my eyes.

===============================

Okay there!  Limiting my points only to the strawman y'all have thrown up, I'll assume you two political scholars are actually referring to the issues with the portion of the AG report relating to the G8 Legacy Fund, and not the section relating to the G20, because that was pretty benign.

First, the audit work wasn't even done until late fall, so the report was still in draft form late in the game and before it could be tabled parliament was dissolved for the election writ.  The G8/G20 findings were part of an annual report to parliament, so the report could hardly be released when no parliament was in session.  No conspiracy there.  Sorry.

Secondly, the draft version that was leaked in the middle of the election that made a huge splash in the media was FAR MORE DEVASTATING than the final report that came out following the election.  So the electorate had information to work with that was much more negative that what was eventually formally released.  As such Bob's point is rather moot.  The leaked report actually prejudiced the government beyond what the facts ultimately warranted.  Beyond that, Canadians already know ten times over that Harper is a secretive, sneaky, sometimes dishonest control freak.  It apparently doesn't matter all that much to them yet.

Finally, the Legacy Fund was $50 million, of which I think about $46 or $47 million was spent.  Let's be pessimistic and say about half of that might have been pork barreling unrelated to the G8.  Probably cost the three of us a buck or so a piece.  I hope they do it again a few more times, don't you?  How many times would you throw a loonie in a hat to reveal the Harper government for what it is?

It is wildly naive to think that lack of transparency and waste involving a few million dollars is somehow more important than events that redrew the political lines to the extent that they were redrawn in this country.    The latter was seismic, historic, a trajectory that may even see the effective end of our precious three party system.  That's important.  Sneaking a comparative pittance through parliament and (maybe) frittering it away in a manner that will be caught within one or two fiscal cycles is, relatively speaking, political peanuts.