Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Last snapshot of a political landscape gone forever

Yesterday's sad news has been a blow to everyone who follows Canadian politics. Jack Layton has been a fixture of the Canadian political landscape since he became leader of the New Democrats in 2003, and he reinvigorated his party and brought it to new heights. Indeed, the loss of this stellar politician and Canadian leader is made all the more tragic by its coming after such a great achievement. Jack Layton and all of those who supported him had reason to hope for a bright future. Though the future they envisioned can still happen, it is very sad to think that Jack Layton will not get to be a part of it.

For my own part, I first began to pay close attention to Canadian politics around the time of Jack Layton's successful leadership run and the last leadership race of the old Progressive Conservative Party - one that quickly resulted in the merger of the Tories and the Canadian Alliance. For myself and many others, the next phase of Canadian politics will be a very different world. But thoughts of what comes next for the NDP and Canadian politics in general can wait.

A federal poll from Abacus Data was released late last week. It would have been the subject of some analysis here on ThreeHundredEight.com, but in light of yesterday's news and the transformation of Canadian politics it will entail, I will instead post the results of the poll without comment and merely for future reference.

The poll represents a last snapshot of the federal Canadian political landscape as it had existed.
Of note is that a majority of Canadians polled had a favourable opinion of Jack Layton, while fully 82% of Canadians polled had either a favourable or neutral opinion of the NDP leader before he passed.

Many have commented on the positive politics that Smilin' Jack tried to bring to Parliament Hill, and how he was respected and liked even by those on the opposite side of the aisle. We may not see another political leader like Jack Layton for some time.


  1. I'd actually really like it if you analyzed these numbers as they are quite impressive given that the spread federally is only 6 points!

    Though they speak for themselves an exmination of their meaning would be just as useful

  2. Considering the margin of error, there really isn't anything in this poll much different from the 2011 election result.

  3. I find it interesting that Nanos, latest poll had the Liberals and NDP tied, with the Liberals slightly ahead by like .2% or something.

  4. "We may not see another political leader like Jack Layton for some time."

    And for me that means a loss of a very important quality in our national like.

  5. Goaltender Interference23 August, 2011 11:01

    Indeed, very sad. It's too bad that we got to know how exceptional he was only at the end of his life.

    Here's an interesting Quebec poll. It seems that, if this poll is accurate (and who knows with Quebec's chaotic politics at the moment), Jean Charest, one of the most unpopular politicians in Quebec's history, would be re-elected with another majority:


  6. I'll have something on that poll tomorrow.

  7. Harper has nobody to stop him now !

    He'll be up against three rookie leaders in the next election.

    The Bloc will come back, the Liberals will come back, and the NDP will fight like heck to survive.

    With all the vote splits the next election just became a cake walk.

    Goodbye Jack, goodbye CBC.

  8. Jack Layton is the "best Prime Minister we never had". We can only speculate what Layton could have accomplished if fate was a little different. Layton's charisma brought many centrist voters into the NDP, a term that can be coined as "Layton Liberal".

    While the NDP's success is mostly banked on Layton, I believe the NDP has a good chance build on Layton's success. NDP bigwigs shouldn't look for a "messiah" type leader, but should rather focus more on improving policy and substance now that they have a higher profile.

    The Liberals continue to have a "messiah" problem, which started after Trudeau's retirement. I hope the NDP does not go through that path during their post-Layton era.

    - Maple

  9. Deeply saddened to hear of Jack Layton's death.

    His impact on Canadian society and politics has been immense.

    His impact on the electoral fortunes of the NDP has also been quite incredible - taking it from just 13 seats and 8.5% of the vote to 103 seats and over 30%.

    I wonder what the future holds?

    Eric's surely right in saying that this is a political landscape sadly changed forever.

  10. You know just once I'd like to see the idiot supporters out there actually react as normal Canadians.

    Anonymous 11:26 you don't understand nor comprehend the Canada you talk about !!

    Let me give you the following example of what you don't understand.

    State Funerals are essential for sitting and Past Governors General and sitting PM's. That's all !!

    But PM Harper has given Jack Layton a State Funeral and not content with that has decried a 15 gun salute on Thursday afternoon when Layton's coffin is due to leave Ottawa for Toronto !!

    Toronto's State Funeral for Layton at the Roy Thompson Centre includes 1700 invited guests.

    Do you have the slightest idea what all this indicates ??

    Because from your remarks you seen to have NONE !!

  11. Peter it seems to indicate that the ONE man who could stop Stephen Harper is getting a grand send off.

    Beyond that i'm not sure what your point is, other than to highlight the extreme grace of Stephen Harper in offering such honours.

    Sorry but real Canadians have to worry about their pensions! About the future of the CBC ! About global warming !

    Didn't you read Jack's letter ?

    I'm extremely depressed. Harper is going to steam roll us.

  12. Peter,

    I'm not even sure what the heck you're on about. Is there supposed to be some hidden meaning in all of that?


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