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Remembering Jack Layton, One Year Later


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Coming up on one year in 3 days....

For those who would like to remember Jack.


Jack Layton Anniversary: Mulcair Pays Tribute To Former NDP Leader In Brampton


BRAMPTON, Ont. - There was more laughter than tears as NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Toronto MP Olivia Chow joined New Democrats on Saturday to reflect on Jack Layton, ahead of the one year anniversary of the former New Democrat leader's death.

Mulcair spoke to a packed room of supporters in this Toronto suburb about the contributions Layton made to the party and how they would continue his legacy into the 2015 federal election campaign.

"I think that one of the things that Jack brought was his determination and his belief that we could accomplish great things," Mulcair said, adding that the two worked closely together to break through in Quebec.

"I took up the challenge, I worked with him for five years and we believed in what we were doing and the result is there now."

Mulcair also said he shared Layton's "sunny optimism" and "driven determination."

"We're going to make sure that across Canada people understand that the NDP is ready to form a government, stand up to Stephen Harper to make sure that we fight for the things that we hold dearly," he said.

"For example medical care for our families, opening up immigration instead of shutting it down the way the Conservatives have been doing."

Mulcair added that family reunification had become increasingly difficult among immigrants and temporary workers had been brought in without full rights, two things that he wanted to see change.

A cycling event was organized around the community in honour of Layton and Chow, Layton's widow, led an entourage of cyclists dressed in black with a bouquet of flowers on the back of her bicycle.

"We're riding for Jack and to say get involved, get engaged, become active both physically but also socially and politically, make a difference and together we are Jack Layton's legacy," she said.

"New Democrats are united and strong and we're moving forward. We are creating an alternative to say to Stephen Harper that we need a country that has more jobs, better health-care and a life that is more affordable."

Mulcair encouraged support from young people across the country and said that "the NDP is the party for youth."

"Young people are involved. Look at the age of the NDP MPs coming out of the province of Quebec, it's a wave of people saying we can do things differently," he said.

Chow highlighted the fact that in Layton's final letter to Canadians just before his death, he said that young people were a great source of inspiration to him.

"As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world," Layton wrote.

"You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future."

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Today's the 1st Anniversary of Jack's death.

Jack Layton's legacy celebrated at memorial events


The life and legacy of former NDP leader Jack Layton will be celebrated in Toronto and across the country today, one year after he passed away from cancer.

A memorial event that will start at 6 p.m. ET at Nathan Phillips Square is being called a "celebration of love, hope and optimism," a reference to a portion of Layton's last letter.

That letter will be read aloud and musicians including Ron Sexsmith, Raffi, Jason Collett and Lorraine Segato will perform. Organizers also promise other surprise guests. Layton's widow, NDP MP Olivia Chow, his children Mike and Sarah, and other friends and family will be in attendance.

Before the event, Layton's ashes are being at the Toronto Necropolis cemetery, one of the city's most historic burial sites, and one that had special meaning to Layton.

Layton died on Aug. 22, 2011, less than four months after leading his party to opposition status in the general election.

In the days that followed, mourners in Toronto took to where he first made his political mark as a Toronto councillor outside city hall at Nathan Phillips Square — and covered it with tribute messages using chalk.

Toronto street artist Dave Johnston has been commissioned by the NDP to colour the pavement at the square for Wednesday's memorial event, just as those thousands had done a year ago.

"I always brushed politicians with the same brush," said Johnston. "But his speech at the end, that's what inspired me about the guy."

Toronto Coun. Mike Layton said people continue to share their thoughts on how his father changed the city almost every day.

"I was over on Toronto islands recently, and someone sitting on their front porch ran over to me and said, 'This is the house that Jack saved,'" said Layton.

Events planned in other cities

Thunder Bay










Quebec City

St. John's



Organizers in Calgary plan to serve Orange Crush and stream the Toronto event online.

The NDP's sweep of Quebec in the last federal election that pushed Layton into the role of Official Opposition leader was known as the Orange Crush because it's the NDP's trademark colour.

In Ottawa, people gathered at the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill at 11 a.m. for a vigil, and a picnic in a park is scheduled for the evening.


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