Miskatonic University Press

Jack Layton's face


I'm as amazed as any Canadian at the idea that the NDP might do better than the Liberals in the election on Monday and could form the official opposition or even lead a coalition government.

I had one encounter with Jack Layton, the leader of the NDP. Three or four years ago I was taking a taxi through downtown Toronto and cut west along Wellesley through Queen's Park, a beautiful park in the centre of Toronto, the south end of which is home to the provincial legislature.

Some sort of event had been going on in the park that afternoon, and Layton was there. Now, evidently, it was over and he wanted to go home. He was near the street, chatting with someone, and saw my cab coming. He walked forward and held up his arm, his face illuminated with hope that this taxi would be the one to take him home after what had undoubtedly been a lengthy and tiring day. Suddenly, he saw that it was occupied, and instantly dejection flooded over his face. His face sank and he stood there downcast. I waved at him from the back seat. Elation! He beamed joyfully, a wide smile appearing from nowhere, his face now a picture of delight as he gave me a big thumbs up.

Hope, dejection, elation: all expressed in their truest, purest, absolutely unadulterated form on Jack Layton's face, all in one second. I've never forgotten it.