Scores of people gathered outside the Vancouver Convention Centre on Wednesday evening to mark the first anniversary of former NDP leader Jack Layton’s death and celebrate the life of the man who led his party to official opposition status for the first time in its 50-year history...Earlier in the day, Vancouver East MP Libby Davies commented by phone from the larger-scale memorial outside Toronto city hall, where Layton had his political roots as a city councillor in the 1980s. “The compassion and the care that he had for people really came through in his politics and the way he worked with people,” she said over the strains of a memorial concert. “I really feel that he was like a mentor and a guide to us, to MPs and to Canadians generally.” Davies sat next to Layton in parliament for eight years as NDP house leader and then deputy leader.
A year after Jack Layton lost his battle with cancer, NDP deputy leader Libby Davies says his leadership still lives on in the party. “The work that Jack did, I mean, he gave a legacy not just to the NDP, but to all Canadians,” said the MP for Vancouver East over the phone from Toronto. “And that’s something that’s very much alive.”..“People can feel very cynical about politics and politicians,” said Davies. “And I think in Jack they saw someone who was constructive, who always looked for a way to propose what should be done instead of a way of deposing something.”
Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq delivered that unequivocal defence of Ottawa’s hands-off policy toward medicare in a speech Monday to the Canadian Medical Association general council meeting in Yellowknife. “Decision-making about health care is best left to the provincial, territorial and local levels,” she said. “As federal minister of health, I will not dictate to the provinces and territories how they will deliver services or set their priorities...”Libby Davies, health critic for the New Democratic Party, said the argument that Ottawa is merely respecting the provinces’ constitutional jurisdiction on health care is a cop-out. “Flexibility is a code word for lack of action, lack of leadership,” she said. “The federal government’s role is not just to provide money, but to ensure there is equity and fairness.”
New Democrat MP and health-care critic Libby Davies said the poor report card reflects a broad failure on the part of the government to resolve the nationwide drug shortage, secure a long-term care solution and make progress on the $41-billion 2014 Health Accord signed eight years ago. “They’ve washed their hands of health care,” Davies said of the Conservatives. “They’ve basically walked away. That has dramatic and serious consequences, and it’s very clear from this survey Canadians have not only taken note of that, they feel very dissatisfied and concerned about it.”