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2003: Jack Layton becomes federal NDP leader

The Story

It's a big jump from the municipal chamber to the federal NDP leader's chair, and Jack Layton is poised to make it. The longtime Toronto city councillor is well known within the 416 area code for his attention-getting statements, but he's nearly a stranger to the rest of Canada. In this profile aired the day before the leadership convention, CBC reporter Christina Lawand reveals Layton as a born politician who is able to build coalitions across political lines. 

Medium: Television
Program: Canada Now
Broadcast Date: Jan. 24, 2003
Guest(s): John Andras, Brian Ashton, Mel Lastman, Jack Layton, John Sewell
Reporter: Christina Lawand
Duration: 6:19

Did You know?

• Jack Layton was born in Montreal in 1950 and earned a degree in political science at McGill University before going on to complete graduate school and a PhD at York University.

• Politics came naturally to Layton: his father, Robert, was active with the Quebec Liberals before switching to the federal Progressive Conservatives to become a cabinet minister in the Muroney government.


• Layton was first elected to Toronto city council in 1982 and stepped down in 1991 to run, unsuccessfully, for mayor. He was re-elected as councillor in 1994 and stayed on until winning the NDP leadership in 2003.


• The leadership race was over after just one ballot when Layton took 53 per cent of the votes. Layton was elected to Parliament in the 2004 federal election and led the party to its best showing ever in the 2011 election.


• 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.



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