Jack Layton was a long time supporter of LGBT Human Rights in Canada, and was perhaps the most outspoken party leader in our history in protecting and enhancing these rights. Jack dedicated his political life to equality for all minorities, but for many LGBT Canadians he was a knight in shining armour.
His unabashed support of equality legislation, his public support and attendance of LGBT Events, and his leadership in the fight against AIDS in Canada place him as a true pioneer.
In his early political life Jack would weather numerous death threats, and challenges in his career due to his support of LGBT Rights. Most in political life would have back off of their support, but with Jack it seemed that this only fueled his passion and desire to stand up for LGBT Equality.
For the entire length of his career Jack Layton was an ardent supporter of equal rights for all Canadians. He staunchly believed that as human beings we all have the inherent right to experience equality under the law and he aggressivly defended these rights.
In the 1980's at the height of the AIDS Epidemic Mr. Layton served as the chair of the Toronto board of health, and his work resulted in enhanced education and services for all.
Layton founded the Green Catalyst Group Inc., an environmental consulting business. In 1994, he returned to Metropolitan Toronto Council, succeeding Roger Hollander in the Don River ward, and he resumed his high profile role in local politics. He remained on Toronto City Council until pursuing the leadership of the federal New Democrats. He also came to national attention as the leader of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. In June 1999, as chair of Toronto's environmental task force, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, he was instrumental in the preliminary phases of the WindShare wind power cooperative in Toronto through the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative.
In 2003 he ran for and was elected the leader of the NDP. For the next seven years he would lead the party and re-engage Canadian youth in politics. In the May 2, 2011, election, Layton led the NDP to 103 seats, more than double its previous high. This was also enough to make the NDP the Official Opposition in the Commons for the first time ever.
His passion for all Canadians was inspirational, and was sadly taken from us far too early. Mr. Layton has left for all Canadians a true sense of what being a Canadian is, and it is his legacy of standing tall in the face of adversity that has inspired a generation of our youth to embrace the impossible and created a future that is worthy of us all.