Archive for April 25th, 2011

April 25, 2011

Canada Election 2011: Layton upstages Ignatieff at Khalsa Day in Queen’s Park

Jack Layton at Khalsa Day 2011

Orange suits you, Jack. Nice grip too.

It seemed fitting that Michael Ignatieff spoke before Jack Layton on Sunday. Both national leaders attended Khalsa Day celebrations in Queen’s Park for Toronto’s Sikh community and it was clear from the ovations who was the star and who was the opening act.

The applause for Ignatieff was congenial. For Layton, the cheering was loud and, midway through his speech, chants of “NDP! NDP!” rose from the front of the crowd. The scene was a microcosm of what’s happening in the national polls, where Layton’s party is surging hard and running almost neck and neck with Ignatieff’s Liberals, who are collapsing this April like the Vancouver Canucks.

Layton seemed ever-confident and fed off the energy of a crowd familiar with him and his hits: social spending, family-first initiatives, focus on healthcare. “I see a lot of orange here,” he said, noting his party’s colours matched the headwear of many of the 50,000 who came to the park in what’s become the third-largest annual parade in Toronto.

Layton was in his element; Ignatieff came across as well meaning and gracious but appeared more like a guest than a friend. If his campaign does indeed fail, its downfall will be that: He just hasn’t been involved in the community for as long or viscerally as Layton and other politicians.

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