The charismatic, 61-year-old politician had recently stepped down as federal NDP leader, but had expressed hope that he would return when Parliament resumed next month.
“I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of the death of Jack Layton,” PrimeMinister Stephen Harper said in a statement.
Harper offered his condolences to Layton’s wife, MP Olivia Chow, and family.
“When I last spoke with Jack following his announcement in July, I wished him well and he told me he’d be seeing me in the House of Commons in the Fall.
“This, sadly, will no longer come to pass.
“On behalf of all Canadians, I salute Jack’s contribution to public life, a contribution that will be sorely missed.
“I know one thing: Jack gave his fight against cancer everything he had. Indeed, Jack never backed down from any fight.”
News of Layton’s death came shortly before 9 a.m. Monday in a statement from his family.
My condolences to Jack’s family. They are in my thoughts today as is the future of his party. A huge loss for all concerned.
I also note as I skim through some of the comments on other sites that the “Jack bashing” is already in full sway. I find that crass on this particular day and I feel we all need to pause and reflect for a decent interval. The man has earned respect even though many disagreed with him and the “post mortem” on his impact on Canadian politics will commence soon enough. Ultimately, our history books will render the final verdict on his career and that is as it should be.
For now Jack should be permitted to “rest in peace” and his family allowed to grieve privately for a few days. Why do I say that? Because “It’s the right thing to do”.
Canada lost a powerful politician today and we should all stop and remember whether we agreed with him or not. As “Cy” mentioned in a comment below it’s called “class” and Canadian politics is nothing if not “classy” as we remember all who put their country first no matter their beliefs.
Jack Layton was one such person and I regret the loss. I say that because he could have steered Quebec in a new direction and likely would have had he lived. Now we will never know as we return to “square one”. Canada lost a lot today and voters should be cognizant of it.
“Cancer”– a truly “filthy” disease that needs to be conquered no matter the cost. Jack would approve.