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23 2011

Further Thoughts on Jack Layton

Syndicated from: Steve Paikin

Some further thoughts on Jack Layton:     * It's hard to think of another opposition politician anywhere in the country, who could have inspired the kind of reaction we've seen over the past 24 hours. Yes, many people are talking about an extremely critical, and perhaps poorly timed, column penned by Christie Blatchford. But I think what the column misses is the Shakespearian nature of the tragedy, which explains the outpouring of emotion.  Layton had finally got close to the top of the mountain he'd been scaling for 30 years, only to die a tragic and premature death. That connects with people.     * Layton is getting a state funeral --- unheard of for an opposition politician, but again, in tune with public opinion, I'd suggest. The government and the NDP announced today there will be significant visitation hours, both in Ottawa and Toronto, followed by a service on Saturday at Roy Thomson Hall.     * Condolences can be left on the NDP's website here.     * Queen's Park has also set up a condolences book people can sign.  Layton never worked at Queen's Park. But his impact was felt there too.     * On election night, May 2nd, Brian Mulroney was looking for Jack Layton's phone number. Canada's 18th prime minister wanted to reach out to the new opposition leader to talk to him about having a caucus overwhelmingly made up of Quebec representation.  More than half of Layton's new caucus would be made up of Quebec MPs.    Mulroney faced the same issues in 1984: 58 of his 211 seats were from Quebec, including Jack Layton's father, Robert, who became caucus chair. Almost every single member was a political neophyte. Figuring out how to balance the interests of the Quebec caucus with those of the members from the rest of Canada was one of Mulroney's most brilliant skills, and he wanted to give Layton some advice.  The two would speak on the phone twice, for an hour each time.     * Finally, our wonderful video editor Marisa Gatto has put together this retrospective on Layton's life, from appearences he made on TVO.  It's worth watching      

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