Yesterday, Jack Layton, leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP), announced he would be temporarily stepping aside, as he revealed he had been diagnosed with an unspecified cancer. Despite his gaunt appearance, Layton vowed to be back when the House of Commons reconvenes in mid-September. At Layton’s request, it appears that Nycole Turmel will become the party’s interim leader.
This is the latest in a litany of health problems Layton faced over the past two and a half years. Layton was previously diagnosed with prostate cancer in February 2010. Last March, Layton required surgery for a broken hip. Layton ended up needing to walk with a cane. However, his health problems didn’t prevent him from leading the NDP to its strongest showing in its history last May capturing 103 seats attaining Official Opposition status.
Canadians have put aside partisan differences to wish Layton swift recovery. On a personal note, I never met Layton although I was in his home in downtown Toronto nearly fifteen years ago to attend a large social gathering of NDP Youth. Although I left the NDP long ago and profoundly disagree with his politics, I hope Jack Layton gets well soon.
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