NDP Leader Jack Layton defended his in Ajax-Pickering candidate’s choice to take a mid-campaign Caribbean vacation, saying that fixed election dates would help “working people” plan their lives. Layton noted that Jim Koppens booked the trip a year ago—long before he knew an election would be called. “He’s a meat cutter in a local grocery store and he promised his family to be able to have a break, finally, and he made that choice,” Layton said in Montreal. “He’ll be out there knocking on doors, don’t worry about that.” After winning the 2006 election, one of the Harper government’s first acts was to set fixed dates for elections every four years. In 2008, the prime minister ignored his own law by calling a snap election.