Reaction to the death of Jack Layton at 61
The outpouring of emotion that's followed this morning's news that Federal NDP leader Jack Layton has died at age 61 has been nothing short of profound. A moment that transcends party politics, citizens of all stripes have come out to share memories, express their grief, and to celebrate the life of a politician known for his courageousness and determination.
Reaction in Toronto, the city Layton adopted when he came to do graduate work in political science at York University in 1970, has been particularly mournful. For all of Layton's recent accomplishments at the federal level, his political career has always been tied to the city in which it started, where he was elected Alderman of Ward 6 back in 1982.
An advocate for the environment, cycling, and social equality, Layton left an indelible mark on this city and a future generation of politicians and activists, including his son Michael, who followed in his father's footsteps in being elected to City Council last October.
Today we give thanks for Jack Layton's service to both Toronto and Canada, and offer condolences to his family.
Update (12:05 p.m.)
- There will be a gathering at Nathan Phillips Square today at 4:00 p.m. to share memories and celebrate Jack Layton's life.
- Jack Layton's Open Letter to Canadians
Reaction to Jack Layton's death
- Obituary: Jack Layton's legacy as a fighter (CBC News)
- Jack Layton, champion of positive politics, dead at 61 (the Globe)
- Jack Layton dead at 61 (the Star)
- Jack Layton dies of cancer (National Post)
- In Memoriam (NOW Magazine)
City of Toronto Press Release:
"Jack Layton, Member of Parliament, Leader of the Official Opposition, lost a determined and brave battle against cancer early this morning.
He served on Toronto City Council and Metro Council for 18 years.
Layton first ran for alderman in the downtown Ward 6 of the former City of Toronto in the 1982 municipal election, and served on City Council from 1982 to 1991. He also served on Metro Council from 1984 to 1988. He ran for mayor in the 1991 municipal election, placing second behind June Rowlands. In 1994 he was elected to Metro Council, representing the Don River ward. In 1998 Layton joined the newly amalgamated City of Toronto Council representing Ward 30, Toronto Danforth, and was re-elected in 2000. He served until January 28, 2003, when he resigned his City Council seat after being selected as leader of the federal New Democratic Party.
'On the Council floor Jack Layton was a skilled debater who was well known for responding to the needs of all residents of Toronto. Jack was a fighter and he will be missed in Canadian politics,' said Mayor Rob Ford. 'On behalf of the Members of Toronto City Council, I extend our deepest condolences to Jack's wife, Olivia, to son Mike Layton who serves on Toronto City Council, to daughter Sarah Layton, and all of his family.'
Flags at City Hall, Metro Hall and Toronto civic centres will be lowered to half mast, and will remain lowered until the end of the day of his funeral."
Statement from Nycole Turmel, interim leader of the NDP
"New Democrats today are mourning the loss of a great Canadian.
Jack was a courageous man. It was his leadership that inspired me, and so many others, to run for office. We - Members of Parliament, New Democrats and Canadians - need to pull together now and carry on his fight to make this country a better place.
On behalf of New Democrats from coast to coast to coast, our thoughts and prayers are with our colleague Olivia Chow, Jack's children Sarah and Mike and the rest of Jack's family.
And we remember the Tommy Douglas quote Jack included in every email he sent: 'Courage my friends, 'tis never too late to build a better world.'"
Letter from Toronto Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam:
Photo by Matt Jiggins on Flickr