Jack Layton is the Member of the Canadian House of Commons who has led the New Democratic Party (NDP) since 2003. A former Ryerson University, York University and University of Toronto political science professor who served 6 terms on the Toronto City Council, Layton was elected to parliament to represent the riding of Toronto-Danforth in June 2004. A rectangular section of central Toronto ending on Lake Ontario and Toronto Harbour, Toronto-Danforth is an NDP stronghold. The riding also includes Greek, Chinese, Muslim and East-Indian communities.
2006 General Election
In November 2005 Layton withdrew his party's support from the Liberal Party minority government of Prime Minister Paul Martin, a decision leading to the February 2006 general election. Speaking to the Empire Club, Layton explained the decision as a response to the Martin government's refusal to end government subsidies to private physicians, which is allowing the emergence of a two-tier system that is eroding public medicare. He denounced the Liberal Party for its unwillingness, "to attach any conditions to prevent privatization to the funds it currently invests in health. This isn't good enough for people concerned about the erosion of public medicare. They know the dollars are scarce and they want those dollars going to the care of their kids, their parents, and themselves, not spent on profit margins. They know the private hospitals we have today are the thin wedge to the edge of the two-tier system they don't want... They want medicare to define how we treat one another, a deeply-held value that Canadians hold profoundly. It guides and defines us." Source: "Jack Layton's Sppech to the Empire Club," The Globe and Mail. November 7, 2005.
In Vancouver on December 15, 2005, in what will be the first of four national debates between the four principal party leaders, Layton commented on the effect of the scandal rocking the Liberal Party government that, "I think this is a dark time for democracy in Canada. People are turning their backs on democracy; they don't want to vote. Why? Because they saw these sorts of scandals from the people in power." Source: Beth Duff-Brown. "Canada's Leaders Face Off in First Debate." Associated Press. December 15, 2005.
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- Jack Layton. 2000. Homelessness: The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis. Penguin Books. ISBN 0140288880.
- Jack Layton. 2004. Speaking Out: Ideas That Work for Canadians. Key Porter Books. ISBN 1552635775.