08.22.2012 05:06 AM

Layton, one year later

An NDP friend recently told me that his party has not attempted to take partisan advantage on Jack Layton’s name and legacy since his death. I told my friend that he is delusional. We made a bet.

Help me out: who has published examples of the NDP, federal or provincial, shamelessly attempting to capitalize on their former leader’s death, please add to comments. Merci.


  1. Tiger says:

    Wouldn’t most of the press coverage of the NDP in the last year, and the NDP website for the first six months after last August, qualify?

    Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with that — almost all of what’s been done is stuff that Layton himself would’ve approved of. It’s a little crass, sure, but politics is a little crass, period.

    What do you do in response to that? Well, there’s PM Harper’s approach: advise the GG to offer a state funeral, attend, even stand up when Stephen Lewis starts getting ultra-political in the eulogy, and be a general good sport about it, but don’t let yourself get guilted into backing ideas that you otherwise would not have backed.

    So in terms of shameless capitalization, start with Lewis’s eulogy and go from there:

  2. Jordan says:

    Not a great example but Olivia Chow showed up days before the provincial election in Newfoundland and Labrador. Many will say that’s just common but the party obviously used her to bring up Layton.

    There was also people going around with the whole “do it for Jack”.

    There was also that incident in Ontario that Horwath apologized her, can’t remember it exactly without looking it up.

  3. Tom says:

    As if the Liberals and Cons wouldn’t use the death of a sitting leader to promote their ideology.
    Your friend was stupid to even suggest the NDP is above it. Jack was a great man, a wonderful leader and is sorely missed.

    • Warren says:

      But the point is they promised not to do so.

      • Tom says:

        Whose they? Your friend…he is not the spokesperson for the NPD for good reason. He makes stupid bets. I say use Jack’s legacy to promote NDP values until people are sick of hearing it. Then maybe this country will get back on track instead of trying to be US-llite.

      • Tony Jones says:

        Politicans saying one thing and doing the other? What is the world coming to…

  4. Bruce A says:

    Well, if the NDP exploited JL’s death, they sure did a lousy job of it. Seems to me that the press has never really given the NDP a fair shake but certainly mentions Layton any chance they get.

  5. Michael Behiels says:

    The NDP’s concerted deciision to ride on Layton’s shoulders demonstrates that this rather immature party still lacks confidence in its new leader Mulcair. The NDP’s inability to rise to the occasion and use its position as Official Opposition to a rather dictatorial Harper government is striking and very disconcerting to all Canadians, not just Dippers.
    Mulcair remains an unknown figure among the rank and file if the NDP outside Quebec. To offset this problem the Dipper War Room has decided to crank up the celebrations/commemorations on the anniversary of Layton’s death.
    Ironically, the heavy handed focus on Layton merely reinforces the lack of confidence in Mulcair and his leadership abilities in the ROC where the NDP is struggling to hold its own.
    Harper is enjoying his holidays in the Arctic at taxpayers expense and laughing at the shenanigans going on in the Layton NDP movement!

    • Sanjay says:

      For everything you say here, you can replace ‘NDP’ with ‘Liberal’, and ‘Mulcair’ with any of the last several leaders of the Liberal party.

      Why don’t we go back to the Canadian Gallup poll of Feb. 1992 when Chretien had a full year as Leader of the Opposition. Respondents were asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jean Chretien Is handling his job as leader of the Opposition?” 64.4% DISAPPROVED. And that was under the most corrupt PM ever! We know how things turned out the following year.

      Geez, sore loser.

  6. Dan says:

    NDP’s own e-communications
    “Last chance: help Craig Scott carry on Jack Layton’s legacy” (13/03.2012)
    opening paragraph “The Toronto-Danforth by-election is just days away. We both know Toronto-Danforth was Jack Layton’s riding – so I don’t have to tell you how important this by-election is for New Democrats across Canada.”

    “Now let’s get the job done.’ 02/05/2012
    body – ‘I’m proud to have been part of the New Democrat breakthrough that swept Quebec in the last election. But it didn’t happen overnight. Jack and I, along with a dedicated team of supporters, worked tirelessly for four years to make it happen.’

    In fairness though, I think the NDP have been pretty tacful about using Mr. Layton’s death for partisan purposes. I know htey said they wouldn’t use him in this regard, but lets not all be so naiive about it.

  7. Michael Bussiere says:

    Of course they are capitalizing on it. They capitalized on the non-partisan anti-prorogation rallies by showing up with orange everything everywhere. We Libs didn’t memorialize Trudeau’s passing, and I won’t ever bother making the comparisons.

  8. Shane M says:

    “Shoulder to shoulder, non-stop”
    “quoting former party leader”

    Will keep looking though. I know many provincial NDP candidates in the Ontario election wore around Jack buttons door-to-door everywhere, especially all-candidates debates, including Paul Etienne Laliberte-Tipple in my riding.

  9. Shane M says:

    Isn’t it enough that as Coyne quipped the day the “On Continue” french ad was released, “The best strategy the NDP could come up with to introduce their ‘new’ leader is that… look, I can roll up my sleeves… I am living reincarnation of Jack Layton!” ?

  10. Dan says:

    I suppose the only morally acceptable thing according to the Liberal universe would have been for everyone to forget Jack Layton ever existed.

    Thank you for your Liberal concern.

  11. Warren says:

    Oh my God. When does the beatification commence?

  12. Tom says:

    Thanks Patrick. Beautifully written. I am thinking the die hard Liberals on here are just jealous their current leaders will never invoke that kind of passion. Their party has failed to inspire. I do wish they would get their act together and support working with the NDP to squash the Cons. They have an ego problem without the polls to support it.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:


      There’s enough blame to go around. Even the Bloc supported the Harper government on different measures. In short, the ballot box and FPP gave us the government we have. If people don’t like that, let ’em get off their asses at the next election. Turnout wins elections. Apathy keeps Harper in power.

  13. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Many of us non-social democrats miss Jack, even to this day. But Tom Mulcair has to build his own house — and he has to do it without pandering to Jack’s memory. Maybe he can do it. Our job is to beat him to the punch by properly rebuilding and get a leader who can beat Tom fair and square in the next election.

  14. Rob says:

    The @JackLayton Twitter account is still active and posting.

  15. Billy boy says:

    Seems like the only thing that’s shameless is this thinly veiled attack on the NDP and Jack Layton. There is no shame nor wanton capitalizing in Canada’s only progressive political party.

  16. Mulletaur says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t embalm him like Lenin and pull his corpse in a trailer behind their campaign bus in a glass display case.

  17. Steve says:

    Premier Selinger dedicated the last Manitoba NDP provincial election campaign to Layton. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/Selinger-dedicates-re-election-drive-to-Layton-128638048.html

  18. Shane says:

    Friend of mine’s piece getting the same fact Warren’s original question sought to answer. A little crass at points, but on point majorly with such notable quotes as: “Cancer is not sexy and I deeply resent the move to exploit, for political purposes, the death of any Canadian.” (Take that Lisa) http://maxnaylor.ca/2012/08/how-the-left-has-cynically-exploited-jacks-death/

  19. Welby says:

    Warren – I agree with you on this. Even all the commentary on CBC bothers me.

  20. HonestB says:

    Layton was a politician. He dedicated his life to advancing the political fortunes of the party he was a partisan for. How exactly is it distasteful or inappropriate to use his memory to move towards the goal he devoted his life to?

  21. kitt says:

    You don’t know Jack and now NDP are trying to create a legacy. Why not just openly take the credit for the Harper government and the destruction of Canada. But hey, NDP are grabbing every opportunity to push Layton…….

    A statue, a movie, Olivia’s canoe trip (for awhile I thought she was trying to emulate Pierre Trudeau lol)

    The naming of the Toronto ferry terminal to (quote) do justice to Jack’s name.

    The movie and using Jack to attack the CBC

    The stature with the suggestion to rename Younge-Dundas Square

    A white “ghost” bike and his name still on the building

    DearJack.ca was created a few weeks ago

    ‘nough said…… NDP are not above using Jack and lie about doing so,

  22. kitt says:

    Nobody would be talking about the dead if the NDP were not milking everything they can with Layton’s death/anniversary, even to burying his ashes TODAY with a statue, anniversary canoe trip, next a movie!!!

    Scott Ross has an interesting take on Jack’s last letter. Was it plagiarism?


  23. geoffv says:

    You must remember that Jack would only do things that would benefit himself, not the party. He would do anything to be seen in front of the camera. Look how he pushes a lady out of the way so he is in front of a camera.
    You wouldn’t see Chretien or Harper do this. We expect our political leaders to have at least some class. Jack Layton certainly did not have any. This Saint Jack stuff is a little too much.

    • The Doctor says:

      You’re far too kind. Layton was a sanctimonious phony.

      I do agree with you that he never met a microphone he didn’t like.

  24. Seanie L says:

    I know of very few dippers who don’t bring Layton up in conversation if you broach the topic of politics in any way shape or form.

    Not “speaking ill of the dead” is a ridiculous notion in my books. Layton I have said since his illness came about publicly may have been in the eyes of many a “nice guy” but did he actually accomplish anything more than bring a third place party ahead of a second place party when said second place party was choking itself from within? No. A career politico who spoke the words but didn’t do much else.

  25. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Sour grapes does nothing but guarantee a last place finish. That shouldn’t be them and if we’ve got a brain in our collective head, it shouldn’t be us either.

    Leave all that to the contented empire of nattering nabobs of negativism. Let them have at it, as per usual, with all they’ve got. They will only sink themselves in the process.

  26. Iris Mclean says:

    It is sad that the once proud Liberal Party continues to blame its demise on the popularity of Jack Layton and the NDP. With that attitude, it’ll be a long fucking time before they make a comeback. The good thing is that we finally have an Official Opposition that will serve its function in The House.

  27. MCBellecourt says:

    The tributes at the funeral and shortly afterward were, IMO, appropriate, but this morbid obsession by the NDP and the media one year later, the statue and the movie idea have gone from sentimental to just plain tacky.

    Man, has this country gone downhill.

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