Tributes poured in from across the country and among local politicians Monday with the surprising news of Jack Layton’s death from Cancer. Layton, 61, announced just under a month ago, he was taking time off as leader of the federal New Democrats to fight a new form of Cancer.
“Our condolences on behalf of the town and council to Olivia and his family. It must be awful. God will comfort them and give them strength,” said Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek.
Westbroek said he met Layton several times and was impressed by his grounding in municipal politics from his time on Toronto council. He also credited his leadership and work with then finance minister Paul Martin, in bringing infrastructure benefits back to municipalities.
Qualicum Beach has Layton’s efforts to thank for things like the ring road, roundabout and the gas tax returning to the community, Westbroek said.
“I thank him for his social conscience.”
“It’s been said and echoed by people all over that we lost a good leader,” said Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon.
“He raised the bar, he was determined to bring ethics to his work in politics, he was assertive without being aggressive, you could disagree but still have a conversation, he was a great listener.”
Cantelon said the NDP leader, “Struck a very good tone in politics, he really conducted himself as someone to emulate.”
Direct party rival Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney called it a tragic loss. “Jack was passionate about his politics, he was an effective communicator, motivated a lot of Canadians, he played an important roll in the political discourse of our nation, for all these reasons, he’ll be missed.”
Lunney, like commenters from every part of the political spectrum, sent his condolences to Layton’s wife Olivia and the rest of their family.
Layton wrote a final letter to the public just days before he died and it was released Monday by his wife.