In a bit of surprising news today, NDP and Official Opposition Leader Jack Layton, is stepping down from his position temporarily in order to combat a new bout of cancer. Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmelhas has been named temporary leader, as its expected that Layton will return to the chair opposite Prime Minister Stephen Harper when Parliament sits in the fall.
The ascension of Turmelhas as leader comes as a surprise because she is a rookie MP, and part of the vaunted "Orange Revolution" in Quebec during the last Federal Election. She leap-frogged over deputy leaders Thomas Mulcair and Libby Davies, as well as party stalwart Paul Dewar, to get the job, which many see as a concession to Quebec's role in boosting the NDP to Official Opposition status. Turmelhas herself though has national experience. She was a union leader for three decades, as well as serving as national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
Layton himself seems intent on returning to his job in the fall, and the selection of Turmelhas over more experience MPs seems to reinforce this. However, this is Layton's second bought of cancer this year after being diagnosed with prostate cancer last February. The NDP caucus will meet Wednesday to make their own recommendation to the party's federal council, which will make the final decision.
Source via CTV