As Leader of Canada's New Democrats from 2003-2011, Jack Layton dedicated his life to public service. Months after taking his place in Parliament, Layton displayed his remarkable ability to get things done for families. Getting things done for people was the hallmark of Layton’s years in Ottawa. Day in and day out, he showed a rare passion, determination and skill. Both a fighter and bridge-builder, he never lost sight of why he was involved in public life.Canadians quickly took notice of the Layton led NDP. Over four elections under Layton, the party grew from 13 MPs to 103, while quadrupling its national vote. That included breakthroughs in Alberta, Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador. He turned the New Democrats into a real political alternative, reshaping Parliament and giving hope to millions of Canadians who wish for a brighter future. He found ways to work across party lines to get results. In 2008, Layton was instrumental in bringing about the Prime Minister’s apology to survivors of Indian Residential Schools.
In 2011, Layton brought the party to unprecedented heights. Canadians elected a record-breaking 103 New Democrat MPs, representing every part of the country. Layton became leader of the largest Official Opposition in 31 years—and the first formed by New Democrats. With 59 Quebec MPs, Layton’s team emerged not only as a credible government-in-waiting, but as a force for Canadian unity.Through it all, Layton took strength from his family—his partner, and fellow Member of Parliament, Olivia Chow, children Sarah and Mike, and his granddaughter Beatrice.
Initiated to the Gamma Lambda chapter in 1968, Jack Layton was a true Sigma Chi. Elected student council president of his high school, Hudson High School, his yearbook predicted that he would become a politician. He graduated from McGill University in 1970 with an Honours BA in political science.
RIP Jack Layton (July 18th, 1950 - August 22, 2011)