Lay­ton vows to beat can­cer

Will con­tinue as leader of NDP

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY KEITH LES­LIE

TORONTO

— Jack Lay­ton vowed Fri­day to beat the dis­ease that his fa­ther once over­came, say­ing he will stay on as leader of the New Democrats while he’s treated for prostate can­cer.

“ This year, more than 25,000 Cana­dian men are go­ing to be di­ag­nosed with treat­able prostate can­cer and I re­cently learned that I’m one of them,” Lay­ton told a news con­fer­ence in Toronto.

“I want to en­sure that my con­stituents know that I will be car­ry­ing on as a mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for Toronto-Dan­forth and as leader of the New Demo­cratic Party of Canada.”

With his wife, fel­low NDP MP Olivia Chow, at his side, Lay­ton read brief state­ments in English and French. He de­clined to take any ques­tions.

“It’s the same kind of prostate can­cer that my dad was di­ag­nosed with 17 years ago,” said Lay­ton.

“I in­tend to bring to this bat­tle the same sense of determination and op­ti­mism that he did. I’ll have his genes on my side as well.”

Chow too is a can­cer sur­vivor, said Lay­ton, and like his wife and his fa­ther he in­tends to beat the dis­ease.

“My wife Olivia knows a thing or two about tak­ing on can­cer, hav­ing been di­ag­nosed with thy­roid can­cer just a few years ago,” he said.

“She won her bat­tle, and I’m go­ing to win mine as well.”

Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper of­fered Lay­ton his thoughts and pray­ers, and said politi­cians that at­tack each other al­most daily can be, and of­ten are, good friends.

“It’s a funny busi­ness this; you do bat­tle with a guy for many years but at the same time you of­ten de­velop a very close re­la­tion­ships with some of your coun­ter­parts,” Harper said in Saskatoon.

“Lau­reen and I cer­tainly con­sid- er Jack and Olivia friends and we just wish him all the best. I look for­ward to do­ing po­lit­i­cal bat­tle with him for many years to come.”

Lay­ton, 59, said his treat­ment plan is un­der­way — his staff say the type of treat­ments are to re­main be­tween Lay­ton and his doc­tor — and he joked about hav­ing some­thing to watch on tele­vi­sion while he’s not at work.

“Ev­ery­thing is on track and I’m feel­ing good,” he said. “In the com­ing weeks, the sched­ule of treat­ments might mean I’ll have a lit­tle more time to watch the Olympics on TV.”

Hav­ing Lay­ton side­lined could be a real blow to the New Democrats, who feel the leader has been re­spon­si­ble for so­lid­i­fy­ing their base and en­abling them to think big. Lay­ton has great per­sonal rat­ings in polls on who Cana­di­ans would like to have a beer with and who would make best prime min­is­ter.

Lay­ton broke the news to the NDP staff and cau­cus Fri­day morn­ing, said long­time press sec­re­tary, Karl Be­langer.

“Mr. Lay­ton is re­ceiv­ing sup­port from many New Democrats al­ready who just heard the news, as most peo­ple have, so he felt re­ally good, and we all are very con­fi­dent about what’s go­ing to hap­pen next,” Be­langer said.

Lay­ton has rep­re­sented the rid­ing of Toronto-Dan­forth since 2004. He just cel­e­brated his sev­enth an­niver­sary as leader.

“We rec­og­nize that there’s still work ahead of us to build that car­ing and green Canada that we be­lieve in,” Lay­ton said. “And I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves on Mon­day morn­ing and get started.”

Lay­ton was di­ag­nosed dur­ing a rou­tine checkup in De­cem­ber and will be treated in Toronto, added Be­langer, who said he did not have de­tails on the type of prostate can­cer the leader has.

Jack Lay­ton

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