MP Fin Donnelly calls Jack Layton’s death "a big loss for Canada"

Georgia Straight, 22 August 2011 By Stephen Thomson

NDP Leader Jack Layton’s death is a significant loss for Canada, says B.C. member of Parliament Fin Donnelly.

"Jack was an amazing individual and he’ll be missed,” Donnelly told the Straight by phone today (August 22).

"This is a big loss for Canada. He’s a political hero and he was at the height of his career and it’s just so sad that cancer would take him at this time."

Layton died today at his home in Toronto after battling cancer. He was 61.

Donnelly, the NDP MP for New Westminster-Coquitlam, praised Layton for his work strengthening the party, saying "he's left a strong foundation".

"In his almost decade of leadership he’s built this party into what it is. We had a breakthrough Quebec in the [May 2 federal] campaign but that came from a lot of hard work behind the scenes and largely it was Jack’s doing."

Donnelly also described Layton as a talented, friendly, and passionate individual.

"He really was quite a well-rounded individual and he was very inspiring with his vision but also with his just down-to-earth ability to talk to you as a friend. And I think Canadians saw that and they appreciated that."

"He had a great smile and a warm heart. I think Canadians were just getting to know him."

© 2011 Vancouver Free Press