TORONTO, August 22, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Federal New Democrat Party leader Jack Layton died at home this morning at age 61.
While Layton was one of Canada’s leading politicians pushing a radical leftist social agenda that included abortion and homosexuality, the pro-life movement responded to the announcement of his battle with cancer with a call to prayer. At his death, Jim Hughes National President of Campaign Life Coalition expressed sorrow and offered the prayer: “May God have mercy on his soul.”
Layton’s family announced his death in a statement Monday morning, saying: “We deeply regret to inform you that the Honourable Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, passed away at 4:45 a.m. today.”
After leading his party to win an unprecedented 103 seats in the May 2nd federal election, the new Opposition leader announced in late July that he would take a leave of absence after being diagnosed with an unidentified new form of cancer. He had previously battled prostate cancer.
Layton had been praised in the mainstream media as a charismatic and hard-working leader, and was given the lion’s share of the credit for his party’s recent successes.
Although Layton and his party have an official pro-abortion stand, news of his illness had prompted Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life organization, to call on supporters to pray for Layton’s health and conversion.
Mary Ellen Douglas, Campaign Life Coalition’s national organizer, said at the time of Layton’s announcement, “We encourage our people to remember [Layton] in their prayers. Although he’s not someone we would support politically because of his pro-abortion stand, we do pray for him and encourage people to pray for him at this time that he’s suffering. We just pray for his recovery.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper also issued a statement this morning, saying: “I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of the death of Jack Layton.