09.14.2011 09:48 PM

“I don’t want this to happen anymore”

That’s what Ontario NDP Andrea Horwath said.  That’s a quote. Then, this afternoon, Toronto Star veteran Richard Brennan spotted this in Ottawa.

Bottom line?  Either Horwath didn’t mean what she said, or her followers don’t listen to her.  Neither possibility is helpful to her prospects.

Personally, I’m interested in how widespread this distasteful practice is.  If you spot another example of an NDP campaign trying to profit (politically or otherwise) on the passing of Jack Layton, let me know in comments or at wkinsella@hotmail.com.  Then I’ll post what you find.

Oh, and Andrea?  This is one of those reasons why so many regard your leadership as a great big disappointment.


  1. Jake Keane says:

    Jack would have been proud! Why is this distasteful when Layton himself framed his own death in political terms, both in his service and in his request for donations to the Broadbent fund? This is the only party that politicized the anti-prorogation rallies, remember? Orange everywhere when every other group respected the non-partisan nature of the event. Horwath is merely using typical NDP tactics as sanctioned by Jack himself.

  2. Jon Adams says:

    I know I’m opening myself up to a drubbing by the Usual Gang of Idiots, but what if this is a grassroots thing?

  3. Greg says:

    Stepping outside of Ontario, here in Manitoba our NDP Premier was very open in saying that the campaign was being done in Jack’s memory.


    • Warren says:

      That is just a total disgrace.

      • Transplanted Doerite says:

        I don`t like it myself – and think it says desperate – I but I don`t necessarily find it `disgraceful.` Cynical? Maybe, but cynicism has a long tradition in politics.

        In the case of MB, evoking Jack like Sellinger did seems unnecessary, since they don`t need it to win. Throwing a bone to the base maybe? It`s sure not something you would have seen Doer do. But Sellinger is no Doer and his roots are much closer to the do-gooder leftyism of the federal party anyway, so it would have come naturally.

        Anyway, I think you are making too much of it.

        • Jon Powers says:

          I’ve seen some “Remember Jack” and “Thank you Jack” posters going up in my riding on telephone poles, etc. They look pretty amateurish, so I’m guessing that it’s non-party Dipper supporters throwing them up. Who knows. Either way, it strikes me as rather maudlin.

  4. bza says:

    Warren, the button of ‘do it for Jack’ is in the same tradition of a similar button that people wore after Tommy Douglas passed away that said ‘do it for Tommy’. People just want to pay tribute to his legacy, I don’t see anything wrong with wearing a button. Jack is now revered former leader of the NDP that lead the party to its greatest electoral success ever, expect to see this kind of stuff for many years to come. People really loved the guy. Its the equivalent of wearing a Nirvana shirt in 1995.

  5. Edmund O'Connor says:

    And I suppose the Liberals have never, ever invoked Trudeau in order to lever political advantage? I remember working in Toronto Centre and Liberals constantly invoking his remark about the state having no business in the bedrooms in the nation, and reminding everyone who would listen about that it was him who decriminalized homosexuality.

    • Ted says:

      Trudeau borrowed that line from someone else.

      More to the point, they weren’t cashing in – literally in the case of Horwath’s fundraising request letter – on Trudeau’s death, but his legislative accomplishments to say “this is who we are and what we believe in”. And you didn’t see provincial Liberals doing that because Trudeau’s issues and his fight were at the federal level.

      Oh, and then there is this of course: no Liberal leader invoked Trudeau’s legacy right after telling Liberals that he didn’t want anyone using Trudeau’s name and death and that to do so was the wrong way to do things.

  6. pete says:

    What’s exactly is distasteful about this? Does anyone doubt that Jack Layton would have wanted the NDP to receive as many votes as possible? I think not, and given that, what’s wrong with carrying on someone’s legacy after they’ve passed away

    • International Progressive says:

      A vote for the NDP is a vote for the Conservatives. So by invoking Layton’s name, the Ontario NDP is hurting McGuinty and helping the nativist xenophobe Tim Hudak.

      If the NDP had any class at all, they would drop out of the election and endorse McGuinty.

      • Transplanted Doerite says:

        “If the NDP had any class at all, they would drop out of the election and endorse McGuinty.”


        Actually, I agree. Naturally, as a person closely watching the MB election, I would ask the MB Liberal Party to do the same. Fair?

        Except I wouldn’t. Having them in actually helps Sellinger et al. Big difference.

    • Matt says:

      Would Jack have agreed with the Ontario NDP turning its back on environmental issues in a bid for power? There’s something disingenuous about using someone’s personality for political ends when he cannot form or contextualize the message. It is also dangerous for the user as it subtly indicates that she doesn’t really have good ideas of her own, and must rely on someone else’s legacy. I agree that Jack wanted death was staged politically, but, quite frankly, I also find that somewhat disingenuous. Suppose it comes down to whether you think Jack’s legacy is being honoured or exploited.

    • Ted says:

      “what’s wrong with carrying on someone’s legacy after they’ve passed away”

      Maybe you should ask Andrea Horwath that, being as she is one person who thinks it’s the wrong and has declared her party and MPP candidates and campaigners should not be doing it.

      Personally, I think it is crass opportunism and makes them look bad, not good, to trade on a dead man’s reputation instead of your own policies and people.

      Had Horwath even once appeared in public with Jack before the May 2 electoral success? Had she even once used his name to fundraise before he died?

      I think the answer to that says it all.

  7. The Doctor says:

    Ok, that’s it. Invoking Curt Cobain? Get a life. Cobain was cool. Layton was a f*cking politician who spoke in canned sound bites. End of story.

  8. DL says:

    Apparently Jack Layton’s family and friends are all thrilled that his memory and the invocation of his legacy will help drive up support for his party posthumously. The only people who don’t seem to like are Liberals who are freaking out at the fact that so many voters in Ontario want to show their support for everything Jack represented by voting for his party in the provincial election. I’m sorry that there is no one in the liberal party whose name can be used to drive up Ontario Liberal support. may be try using the name of your federal leader Bob Rae!

    • Warren says:

      You’re a goof. Your own leader said stop doing it. They”re still doing it.

      • Dan says:

        Andrea said stop running ads and posters. This is a PIN. You’re freaking out. Over pins?

        Or are you freaking out because Federal Liberals let party insiders pick such crappy leaders?

    • The Doctor says:

      “The only people who don’t seem to like are Liberals”

      Actually, umm, no, there are lots of other people who think it’s a decidedly low-class, crass and cheesy act to exploit someone’s death for political gain. Conservatives, Greens, libertarians, not to mention the vast majority of Canadians who have no political affiliation whatsoever.

      • DL says:

        New Democrats want to “exploit” what Jack Layton did in his LIFE for political gain – and that is a great way to pay tribute to him!

        • The Doctor says:

          What he did in his life — spewed canned soundbites, put on this sanctimonious schtick all the time and accused Paul Martin of killing homeless people. Fabulous.

  9. sharonapple88 says:

    If the NDP wants to do something for Jack, why not take a look at their environmental policies.


  10. SF Thomas says:

    Was at an all candidate debate in Ottawa earlier and saw Anil Naidoo the NDP candidate with that pin.

  11. Siobhan says:

    I don’t think destroying a pin that says “do it for Jack” is quite what Andrea meant when she asked candidates not to ride on the coattail of Jacks death. I’m fairly certain she meant don’t send out auto-dial voice messages saying something along the lines of ” it’s been a hard time for the ndp since losing jack so give us money”. Jack’s final letter said “don’t let them tell you it can’t be done”… I think a button that says “do it for jack” is a reminder of that message!

    Also, chill out. Even if you think the button is crass or whatever, it was likely made before Andrea made that announcement yesterday.

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