Monday, August 22, 2011

Jack Layton (1950-2011)

21 Comments:

  • Aww. :-(

    I assumed that he wouldn't return to parliament, not anytime soon at least, but I thought he'd be around for a bit longer.

    I hate how cancer can strike anyone and bring them down on their best moment, such as Jack finally making the big breakthrough in Ottawa.

    We'll miss him, even if we didn't agree with him at all times.

    By Anonymous Doctacosa, at 9:24 AM  

  • This is sad news, but not a surprise and not a tragedy, either.

    Jack lived to see the NDP replace the Liberarls as the offcial opposisition.

    To die after achieving a great accomplishment - at your best moment - is not a bad thing at all.

    By Blogger Brian from Toronto, at 10:38 AM  

  • Terrible news.

    I wonder if this is an indictment of the media for failing to report his status during the election, or an indictment of voters for electing someone on insufficient information.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 11:04 AM  

  • If I can be crass for a moment; I wonder if he'll get the state funeral he deserves, or if the PMO will play politics with that, as well.

    By Anonymous Paul Raposo, at 11:14 AM  

  • I suspected that he would never be back as Leader of the Opposition, but this is astonishingly sudden. RIP.

    My father passed away from cancer earlier this year, so I know how quick it can be.

    By Blogger Sean C, at 11:20 AM  

  • "I wonder if this is an indictment of the media for failing to report his status during the election, or an indictment of voters for electing someone on insufficient information."

    How about neither you horrible, horrible person.

    By Anonymous MPAVictoria, at 12:03 PM  

  • It may not be a surprise, but it is a tragedy.

    And RV, honestly, shut up and have some sensitivity. Let us mourn the man before speculating on your useless damned "indictments".

    By Blogger saphorr, at 2:23 PM  

  • @Paul: it isn't up the the PMO to decide such things. A State Funeral is not available to Leaders of the Opposition, but is reserved only for present and former GGs, present and former PMs, and those who die while serving as a Minister (i.e. not former Ministers).

    His body may lie in State, if the family agrees, but that's a very different thing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:05 PM  

  • I meant no offense, and my apologies to anyone who felt any.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 4:39 PM  

  • What Robert asked is a relevant question, it is why American Presidential candidates have their health records reviewed before running for President. If Jack would have been elected as the Prime Minister it would have been even more apparent that there should be better scrutiny/disclosure on medical issues.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:48 PM  

  • A State Funeral is for anyone who is deemed worthy. The sitting opposition leader, to me, fits that category. Remember that Rocket Richard had a state funeral. Also, I hear that the PM offered a state funeral to Olivia Chow and she has, apparently, accepted.

    Also, I don't think that a person's medical condition is all that relevant to the voters. The voters don't get to decide how a person manages their illnesses. That's a personal decision. Personally, I wouldn't vote for or against someone based on their health records, but their public records.

    By Blogger Kevin Powell, at 8:19 PM  

  • I honestly thought that Layton would recover. My sympathies to his family. Cancer is a horrible disease.

    By Blogger sharonapple88, at 8:27 PM  

  • Also, I don't think that a person's medical condition is all that relevant to the voters.

    Whether they'll be capable of serving out the term they're running for is a legitimate question for voters to ask.

    In this instance, of course, we don't really know what Layton's prognosis was during the election, so he perhaps thought things were going better than they ultimately were (things can change very quickly with cancer).

    By Blogger Sean C, at 11:05 PM  

  • This is a political blog, so Robert's question is relevant and fair.

    I expect Canadians were aware that Layton's health was an issue.

    Personally, when Layton triggered the election, I assumed his health was part of his reason for triggering it when he did. Which is not to say he knew he had a new cancer. But surely everyone expected this would likely be his last election - including Layton - and in terms of his health, the sooner the vote, the better.

    On the other hand, voters didn't much care about Layton's health because we knew he wasn't going to be prime minister.

    As for the press, well, to their credit, I think our media allows politicians a lot of privacy. I think most media people would have considered speculating about whether Jack was physically up for the job contemptible - as would most Canadians.

    Also - and this is not to their credit - much of our media is protective of the NDP.

    Look at what happened when the Sun ran the story about Jack going for a rub and tug. The rest of the media treated the story as if it lacked credibility - when they all knew it was true.

    Indeed, they implied the story was slanderous and that Jack would (and should) sue.

    The CBC even followed Jack's lead and referred to the massage parlour as a "community clinic" (which I thought was hilarious).

    In their defence, I believe most people in the media didn't feel that bringing up a politician's sexual kinks was fair play. (Again, it't the privacy thing.)

    So the media did their best to mislead Canadians on the story - which is going a giant step farther than staying mute.

    And would the media have gone out of their way to defuse the story in the same way if it had been about Stephen Harper?

    We all know the answer to that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:02 AM  

  • Any discussion over whether "we" would have elected Jack Layton as Prime Minister in light of better information regarding his health is not only tasteless, but absolutely moot!

    How many times do people who are supposedly knowledgeble about Canadian politics have to be reminded that in CANADA, we DO NOT elect the Prime Minister? We elect Members of Parliament, most of whom are affiliated with a political party, and it is the political party that determines who should lead that party in parliament, and, if that party holds the majority position (or in some instances a "viable" minority), their leader becomes Prime Minister.

    Now, people may say, yeah, but if I vote for my preferred Prime Minister's party representative in my constituency, I'm actually voting for the Prime Minister. To which I say...don't complain about the quality of representation in Parliament if you're going to be so irresponsible as to vote "by proxy" for someone else based only on their party affiliation.

    By Blogger Party of One, at 5:04 PM  

  • @Poo: you can try to re-write history all you want, but when an MP gets elected in Quebec without speaking French or having even visited her riding, you can't say that the voters weren't selecting the Leader of that Party.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:16 PM  

  • Maybe so, "Anon", but the point remains that it's a stupid and irresponsible way to vote...for any party. So your example kind of proves the point, doesn't it.

    By Blogger Party of One, at 7:28 PM  

  • It's perfectly reasonable for a person to cast their vote based on the parties' leaders, i.e. "vote for the Prime Minister".

    In both majority and minority governments, the Prime Minister has a very large amount of executive power (moreso than the President of the United States, in fact), and so it's wise to consider which leader your vote will be helping to put in the big chair.

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 11:45 PM  

  • Certainly it's a consideration, IH, but to make your vote contingent entirely upon the leader is foolish, IMO. ESPECIALLY if one is concerned about the quality of representation one is getting in the HoC. Do people really want "trained seals" who "toe(flipper?) the party line"?

    If one is comfortable with the policies put forward, and the general direction of the party, and one can respect the local candidate, then whoever is leader becomes somewhat less relevant.

    Originally, I was just trying to make the point that only those who live in the leaders' ridings, and party members at a leadership convention, get to actually vote for any leader. My intent in doing so was to suggest that perhaps people should pay more attention to their local representation to avoid getting embarrassed by poor candidates.

    By Blogger Party of One, at 6:52 AM  

  • Essentially I think PoO is saying its more an indictment of the people than the media.

    That is, IF they voted NDP because of the leader, which is almost certainly the case, though I bet PoO might disagree.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:29 AM  

  • You got it, RV, although I do think "the people"(as a whole) have been greivously misled by "the media"(as a whole), whose main interest is commercial and not political and therefore don't generally endorse challenges to the status quo.

    By Blogger Party of One, at 10:10 PM  

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