Jack Layton announced Monday that he will temporarily step down as leader of the New Democratic Party due to his ongoing battle with cancer. Layton, appearing gaunt and speaking in a raspy voice, told a press conference in Toronto that he felt pain and stiffness in the final days of the last session of Parliament. He recommended member for Hull-Aylmer, Nycole Turmel, as his choice for interim leader until he returns to Parliament when it resumes on Sept. 19.
Layton’s battle with prostate cancer has been the focus of much media attention in recent months. Layton revealed today that, although his battle with prostate cancer is going well, recent tests revealed he has a new form of cancer. After Layton spoke, party president Brian Topp wouldn’t specify what type of new cancer Layton has, but said he had spent “some time” at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital. Both Layton and Topp expressed optimism that Layton would return as leader when Parliament resumes from summer break.
The NDP caucus will meet Wednesday to discuss Layton’s recommendation for interim leader. The party will announce its decision on Thursday.