THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
Continued massive support for Canada’s New Democrats is in question as members of the socialist party struggle to cope with the death of their leader.
A state funeral was held Saturday for Jack Layton who lost his battle against cancer at age 61.
It was only last May when the populist leader was credited with leading his party to its greatest election victory ever and became the official opposition in the House of Commons.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made an exception to honor Layton with a full state funeral, normally reserved only for heads of state.
There has been a national outpouring of grief and condolences for Layton as thousands paid their respects at his flag-draped coffin on Parliament Hill and Toronto City Hall before the service at Roy Thomson Hall.
In a letter written just before his death, Layton urged people fighting cancer not to give up hope as well as those wanting to create a better society in Canada.
The letter, released by his widow Olivia Chow, urged the party to choose his successor early next year with Nycole Turmel of Quebec continuing as interim leader.
“Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government,” Layton wrote.