The nation is in mourning and shock with the announced death of federal NDP leader Jack Layton, who had stepped down in recent weeks as he battled a second round of cancer.
He passed away Monday morning.
Layton has been through the Bulkley Valley in the past. His most recent visit was in a tour with Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen in June 2009.
Cullen was not immediately available for comment on the news.
The provincial NDP representative, Stikine’s Doug Donaldson, did offer his condolences to Layton’s family.
“I was shocked when I heard the news,” he said. “We all know how much of a fighter he was and the last media reports I had heard was that he was giving his best to try to come back into parliament in the fall.”
He added, “Thinking back to the contributions he’s made has been pretty incredible over his time as leader of the NDP and that’s a good memory to keep in mind, but right now it’s thinking about the family mostly.”
Donaldson had met Layton on several occasions but he notes he wasn’t a close acquaintance with him. He was however very impressed with Layton’s positivity and energy.
Liberal Leader Bob Rae issued a statement shortly after the news broke.
“Like all Canadians, Arlene and I are deeply saddened by the death of Jack Layton. He was a friend of ours for many years, and despite our political differences his decency, good humour and extraordinary resilience earned our deep admiration. We remained friends throughout our political lives.”
Premier Christy Clark has also issued a statement this morning.
“A passionate Canadian, Jack Layton was a tireless advocate and his energy, dedication and intelligence have been at the service of Canadians since his days as a municipal politician,” she said. “Mr. Layton inspired Canadians during his first battle with cancer and we were all behind him during his second courageous fight.
“He was a dedicated public servant who earned the respect of Canadians for his clear desire to build a better country and his constant goodwill.”