It is sad news that federal NDP leader Jack Layton passed away Monday morning.
Layton was an energetic and passionate leader, whose dedication to making this country better had many Canadians supporting him throughout his federal political career.
Layton died only a few weeks after he announced he was fighting a new form of cancer and was taking time off for treatment (he had been previously diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009).
Regardless of one’s political stripes, all should take a moment to honour and recognize the many strengths and accomplishments of this man.
Politics was in Layton’s blood from the beginning, as his father was a cabinet minister and his grandfather was an MLA.
As a young teenager, Layton started down his own political path when he was elected student council president at his high school.
Later in life, he became a husband, father, teacher, member of the NDP, and a Toronto city councillor.
As a city councillor, he advocated for the creation of a city-funded education team to help combat the AIDS crisis, and served as president and chair on several environmental-oriented committees and task forces.
He also served as president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and wrote the book Homelessness: The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis.
In 2003, Layton became leader of the federal NDP, a role he continued to hold until this summer.
Layton, 61, passed away just months after he led the NDP to Official Opposition status in Canadian Parliament, a first for the party.
The NDP says he died peacefully just before 5 a.m. in his Toronto home and was surrounded by loved ones.
Our thoughts go out to his family and others who were close to this devoted leader and caring citizen.