Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Jack Layton leader of Canadian NDP dies of cancer.

Sad news that Canadian politician Jack Layton has died of  Cancer at the age of 61.

Is death comes after his party the New Democratic Party had achieved its best result in a Canadian electionon he had ledt the NDP to 103 seats, more than double its previous high. This was also enough to make the NDP the Official Opposition in the Commons for the first time ever. The NDP gains were mainly due to a major surge in Quebec as the party won 59 of the province's 75 seats, dominating Montreal and sweeping Quebec City and the Outaouais. The NDP had gone into the election with only one seat in Quebec, that of Mulcair, and had only held one other seat in the province in its entire history.

The  result in Quebec came after he impressed the Quebecois population with his commitment to furthering Quebec autonomy and his support for the French Language..

Despite its advance in the federal elections the NDP do not fight seats in the Quebec Parliament and many of its associate member are free to join the left leaning Parti Québécois and  the left Québec solidaire 

So the NDP view on the autonomy question is vastly different from that of our own Unionist Labour Party and Layton must take a great deal of credit  for this.

What the future for the NDP without Layton is not clear but its interim leader Nycole Turmel’s has in the past been a supporter of the Bloc Québécois  and with its large number of Quebec seats it is unlikely to water down its sovereignty policy.

You can't imagine Labour in the UK ever getting into the position of even supporting the sort of autonomy that Qubec has at present let alone call for more for wales and Scotland.

But it cannot be anything but a sad day when a man who had just achieved his highest political standing  should die so soon after he will be solely missed.

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