The Leader of the New Democratic Party, Mr. Jack Layton

Good evening, my friends.

Well, never let it be said that the people of Canada don’t have the power to effect change.

My fellow Canadians, this has been a historic night.

For the first time in the history of this country, Canadian voters rose up and delivered a message to the established parties. They said no more to politics as usual. And by golly, did they ever get what they asked for.

I must say, I am disappointed by the results.

I will be honest with you, however. While Canadians have punished the New Democratic Party to a lesser extent than the Conservatives and Liberal parties, they were clear in their message: we need to work much harder in respecting and understanding the wishes of ordinary Canadians.

My friends, the New Democratic Party has devoted itself to serving the needs of ordinary Canadians. We were instrumental in the creation of Medicare. We fought things that benefit Canadians as a whole, such as labour standards, clean air, child care, and social justice.

But Canadians have come to disbelieve in the credibility of politicians of all stripes. It’s not enough to champion what we believe Canadians want; we have to learn to listen, to hear what Canadians actually want.

The New Democratic Party is in a unique position to do this; to reinvent politics to serve Canadians instead of politicians. We believe that the electoral system needs to be changed to reflect the will of Canadians; that a better code of conduct needs to be implemented in our Parliament, one that removes the childish insults of Parliamentary Debates; and that the unrepresentative Senate needs to be abolished.

Therefore it is up to us to take advantage of NDP’s desire for meaningful change, to remodel ourselves into what Canadians need us to be. We must be open to new ideas, or we must get out of the way. And to that end, I shall get out of the way.

I have notified our party president of my intention to resign as the leader of the New Democratic Party. I will hand over power to an interim leader, to be decided by NDP Caucus and Federal Council, who will hold power until a leadership convention can be held. I do this with regret, but with confidence.

We’ve had setbacks before, and we’ve always returned, revitalized, reinvigorated. Soon, we shall be back.

So, tonight, let us celebrate our achievements, and tomorrow, plan our rebirth. Thank you and good night.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by James Bow published on August 26, 2008 10:30 PM.

The Leader of the Bloc Quebecois, the Honourable Gilles Duceppe was the previous entry in this blog.

The Honourable Stephane Dion, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada is the next entry in this blog.

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