CBC Digital Archives

Have you seen this moustache before?

media clip
• He was born into a political family in Montreal, and his father and grandfather were cabinet ministers in the federal and Quebec governments.

• As a teenager in 1967, he was president of his student council and lobbied to have a youth centre built in his hometown.

• In 1983, before he went on to pioneer a workplace smoking bylaw, he very publicly smoked his last cigarette in front of a group of Grade 7 students. "The cigarette smokes, you're just the sucker," he told students in warning them against taking up the habit.

• He speaks English, French, some Cantonese and some Mandarin.


• The moustache belongs to Jack Layton, who was born in 1950 in Montreal. His family history includes many politicians and activists: his great-granduncle William Steeves was a father of confederation; great-grandfather Philip Layton helped create one of Canada's first social programs, a $25-a-month pension for the blind. His grandfather Gilbert Layton was a cabinet minister for Maurice Duplessis and his father Robert Layton was a Progressive Conservative cabinet minister under Brian Mulroney.

• Layton moved to Toronto in 1970, earning a PhD in political science at York University and becoming a professor at Ryerson. In 1982, Layton ran for Toronto city council and defeated incumbent councillor Gordon Chong (seen in this clip). Layton became known for his role in the city's political left, opposing megaprojects such as the SkyDome and Toronto's bid for the 1996 Olympics. In 1991 Layton made an unsuccessful run to become mayor of Toronto, losing to June Rowlands.

• Jack Layton ran unsuccessfully for Parliament in 1993 and 1997. In 2003 he was chosen as leader of the federal New Democratic Party, although he did not hold a seat. In the 2004 federal election the party captured 15 per cent of the popular vote but just 19 seats. This time Layton was able to defeat Liberal Dennis Mills to gain his seat, but Layton's wife, Olivia Chow, lost hers. The NDP helped prop up Paul Martin's Liberal minority until late 2005, when Layton and Stephen Harper forced a non-confidence vote that triggered an election in January 2006. In that election, the NDP (including Chow) captured 29 seats.

•  Layton led the party to its best showing ever in the 2011 election, becoming Leader of the Opposition when the NDP won 102 seats to the Conservatives' 136 and the Liberals' 77.

• Layton was a prostate cancer survivor when he fought the election, but he died of a second type of cancer on Aug. 22, 2011. He was 61. 

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: Nov. 9, 1982
Guest(s): Joanne Campbell, Tom Jakobek, Jack Layton, John Sewell
Reporter: Alison Smith
Duration: 1:50

Last updated: October 17, 2014

Page consulted on October 17, 2014

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

1989: Audrey McLaughlin is first woman to lea...

After a dramatic night of balloting, rookie MP Audrey McLaughlin is crowned the new leader of ...

1963: Lester B. Pearson becomes prime ministe...

After five years spent as leader of the Official Opposition, Pearson finally wins the country'...