Jack Layton

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Jack Layton
Photo by Joshua Sherurcij

John Gilbert "Jack" Layton (July 18, 1950 – August 22, 2011) was a social democrat and a former leader of Canada's New Democratic Party and a former leader of the Official Opposition of Canada. He went to York University in Toronto in 1970 to obtain a Ph.D in Political Science and continued to lived there with his wife Olivia Chow, a fellow NDP politician.

Layton served as a Toronto City Councillor for several years before being elected leader of Canada's NDP in 2003. He was elected as a Member of Parliament in the 2004 federal election, after unsuccessfully running for the NDP in the 1993 and 1997 elections. He served as Member of Parliament until his death in 2011.

In 2006, Layton called for the return of Canadian troops from Afghanistan. In January 2007, he called for a federal ban on ATM fees. In 2008 after the Conservatives when re-elected to a minority government. Layton was active in an attempt with Michael Ignatieff and Gilles Duceppe to force the creation of a coalition government with the Liberal and Bloc parties. However, in the end, this attempt was unsuccessful.

In the 2011 Canadian parliamentary elections Jack Layton ran as head of the NDP yet again. He promised to increase funding for expensive, health care plans, increased social programs, and reduction of senior poverty all by raising corporate taxes to 19.5% from the current rate of 16.5%.

Layton announced on February 5, 2010 he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. On July 25, 2011, Layton announced he had been diagnosed with a new form of cancer and would be taking a leave of absence as NDP leader. Layton subsequently died of cancer on August 22, 2011.