Jack (John Gilbert) Layton

Section H, Lot 680
Toronto Necropolis

Son of Robert Layton, a former prominent Québec Liberal who later became a Conservative MP and cabinet minister, Jack Layton graduated in political science from McGill University with a BA (1970) and from York University with an MA (1971) and a PhD (1984). His PhD thesis dealt with globalization. John Gilbert “Jack” Layton, educator, municipal and federal politician, New Democratic Party leader (born in Montréal, July 18, 1950; died in Toronto, August 22, 2011). Jack Layton, leader of the federal New Democratic Party from 2003-2011, headed the first NDP party to sit as Canada’s Official Opposition in the House of Commons. Layton’s career revealed a strong dose of social activism spanning issues ranging from the white ribbon campaign (seeking to stop violence by men against women), to environmental climate change (championing Toronto’s first urban wind turbine and supporting the Kyoto Accord), to homelessness and the need for affordable housing, to fostering an AIDS urban strategy, to participating in anti-free-trade protests. Jack Layton had announced in February 2010 that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He undertook the 2011 election campaign with the same apparent vigour and enthusiasm he had displayed throughout his career. However, in July 2011 he announced that he would be taking a temporary leave from his duties to fight a second cancer. He recommended Nycole Turmel as interim leader, and stated that he intended to be back in the House when Parliament resumed on 19 September. Layton, however, succumbed to the disease only a month later. During his final days he composed a letter to be read upon his death, urging all cancer sufferers to remain strong; his party to continue to work toward its goals; and all Canadians, young people in particular, to remain positive about a better future.