Main | Monday, August 22, 2011

CANADA: Opposition Leader And LGBT Advocate Jack Layton Dies At Age 61

Jack Layton, Canada's legendary progressive and the current head of the opposition New Democrat Party, has died of prostate cancer at the age of 61. An ardent friend of the LGBT community, Layton was a vigorous supporter of HIV/AIDS activism in the early years of the pandemic. In 2005, Layton was credited by many for the success of Canada's national same-sex marriage bill when he was the only party leader to whip for supporting votes.
The New Democrat party issued a statement saying Layton died peacefully Monday morning at his Toronto home, surrounded by family and loved ones. Only weeks ago, a gaunt Layton held a news conference to announce he was fighting a second bout of cancer. Layton’s party scored its historic win by garnering 103 seats in the May federal election, up from a previous 37. The spring campaign started out looking like a straight battle between Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Liberals’ Michael Ignatieff, with Layton recovering from prostate cancer and a broken hip. Layton carried a cane and hobbled throughout the campaign, and his health seemed to improve as it progressed. His cheerful, upbeat message, his strong performance in the debates and his popularity in the French-speaking province of Quebec, went over well with voters.
Layton leaves a wife and two children. We send our condolences to Canada.

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