Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Jack Layton will lie in state for public visitations in the foyer of the House of Commons from 12:30 to 8 pm today and 9 am to 1:30 pm tomorrow. There will be a public visitation at Toronto City Hall all day Friday, and Saturday morning before the state funeral at Roy Thompson Hall.

Tributes have rolled in from across the country - you can read recounts of Jack's life from Randy Boswell, Andrew Duffy, Chantal Hebert, Stephen Maher, Lawrence Martin, John Doyle, Chris Macdonald, and Jeff Jedras. Friends and rivals have also weighed in - Stephen Harper, Ed Broadbent, Stephen Lewis, Bob Rae, and Paul Dewar amongst others.

The Chronicle Herald chronicles the reaction of Nova Scotia politicians, Jason Feteke gives the view from Alberta, and Kady O'Malley recaps Monday in Ottawa. The Star and Globe editorial boards have nothing but nice things to say. Even the Economist chimes in.

And then there's Christie Blatchford, who is peeved everyone is making such a big deal out of this and takes issue with Layton's "vainglorious" goodbye letter. I'll be the first to say there's nothing wrong with going against the societal convention of profusely praising even the most flawed public figures upon their passing, but it's hard to read Blatchford's piece without feeling like she's just a miserable person. Maybe she just had a bad Monday.

On the political side, Paul Wells and John Ivison reflect on the groundwork Layton laid for his crowning moment this spring, while Pundits Guide looks at Layton's electoral track record and the road ahead. She points out this will mean a Toronto Danforth by election, and one imagines that could tempt a few recently defeated Liberal MPs out of retirement - or perhaps a jump to federal politics for David Miller or Mike Layton.

John Ibbitson quite rightly reasons that Harper will be virtually unnoposed in Ottawa, with the NDP, Liberals, and (what's left of) the Bloc all in the midst of leadership races. Well, there is still Elizabeth May to hold his feet to the fire, I guess. Greg Weston and Jeffrey Simpson wonder what's next for the NDP.

On that topic, speculation has already ramped up about who will replace Layton, with Brian Topp (whose tribute to Layton can be read here) and Thomas Mulcair seen as the early favourites by "NDP insiders" (the Post profiles the full field here). That didn't take long.



  • Blatchford's letter was amazing, and so is the reaction.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:17 a.m.  

  • Mulcair has to be the presumptive favourite, but he doesn't have Jack's personality, charm, or warmth.

    It might be best to the NDP to look outside its caucus, or at one of the younger/newer MPs.

    By Anonymous Deb, at 1:00 p.m.  

  • On the contrary, RV, neither were amazing.

    I admit to a certain surprise at seeing, at long last, proof positive that Blatchford actually is a soulless reptile, but honestly that wasn't all that much of a shock. She was already pretty low in my esteem and she sunk a bit further.

    I admit find it insane that someone who spends her professional life recounting the lurid details of the final moments of murdered children can issue a moral condemnation of a dying politician for a deathbed proclamation of his commitment to the ideals he always held. But that's kinda par for the course with Blatchford.

    As for the reaction, people taking exception to brutal heartlessness ought not to be something you find amazing.

    By Blogger saphorr, at 4:31 p.m.  

  • You just can't help yourself can you Robert?

    By Anonymous MPAVictoria, at 6:07 p.m.  

  • Allow me to rephrase: Blatchford's article is amazing to anyone that didn't previously believe she was a soulless reptile.

    Also, saphorr and MPAVictoria are far, far better than me in every way.

    Can we please move on now?

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:27 a.m.  

  • It cannot have effect in reality, that is what I consider.

    By Anonymous, at 8:31 a.m.  

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