Layton Temporarily Steps Down as NDP Leader

You have to go back to 1968 to find an instance of a federal party leader's personal popularity being responsible for as many votes as Jack Layton attracted to the NDP in this year's election. Yesterday Jack Layton announced that he will be taking a temporary leave of absence to receive treatment for a new form of cancer. We look into what this news means for his party and the country.

Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

Part One of The Current


It's Tuesday, July 26th.

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Jack Layton Temporarily Steps Down as NDP Leader - Ian Capstick

Jack Layton surprised a lot of Canadians including possibly himself in the last federal election. He smashed the Bloc Quebecois and brought an unheard of number of New Democrat MPs to Ottawa from Quebec.

Yesterday, Jack Layton surprised the country again with his announcement that he will temporarily step down as party leader to fight his cancer.

To get some sense of what it will mean in the short term for the NDP to be without its greatest asset, we were joined by Ian Capstick. He worked for Jack Layton for five years, as his press secretary. He now runs a communications company called MediaStyle. He was in Ottawa.

Jack Layton Temporarily Steps Down as NDP Leader - Susan Delacourt

This announcement does more than rattle the NDP. It also means that Prime Minister Stephen Harper faces two opposition parties without permanent leaders.

For more on how this is going to play out politically, we were joined by Susan Delacourt. She's a senior writer in the Toronto Star newspaper's Ottawa Bureau.

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