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Jack Layton: City Hall’s ‘tired but victorious warrior’

The Story


On the morning after municipal election day in 1982, a reporter wandering the mostly-empty corridors of Toronto City Hall runs into experienced councillor (and former mayor) John Sewell with a rookie by his side. Shirtsleeves rolled up, a young Jack Layton has been through a tough battle in a downtown ward and upset his rival. As we see in this clip, Layton is pleased but "apprehensive" about the enormous workload facing the newly-elected politicians (which include Tom Jakobek, who at age 23 becomes the youngest politician on the city council).

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

Did You know?


• Jack Layton 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. 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.


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