What do we need to know? (II) - Macleans.ca

What do we need to know? (II)

Jack Layton is a public figure, but the nature of his medical challenges remains private


Jack Layton’s aides discuss their approach to disclosure and the Canadian Press explores the history of private health in public life.

“I think the nature, sadly, of this disease is that it’s changed,” says Monk. “And that’s why he announced yesterday his temporary leave. He admitted quite publicly yesterday that he’s facing serious medical challenges.”

Layton has not, however, divulged the form of cancer he is now battling, the treatment he’s receiving or the prognosis. “I think that Canadians respect his right to keep some things about his treatment private,” says Monk.

The NDP caucus is presently meeting on Parliament Hill. Mr. Layton is due to address the gathering by phone. Before the meeting, party president Brian Topp described a conversation with the NDP leader this morning.

I was on the phone this morning with Jack Layton. He was in great spirits, his voice was strong, he was in good humour. He was complaining that he should have done this press conference today and he asked me to say that he was very grateful for the thousands of messages that he’s received in the last two days from Canadians across the country. He’s drawing great power and spirit from them.