"Bicycle Jack": 1950-2011. A progressive politician dies
Source: Toronto Star
It's all over Canadian news that Jack Layton, Official Opposition and NDP Leader, former Toronto City Councillor and cycling advocate, died this morning, after fighting a recurring cancer.
I'd like to comment on what Jack has done for cycling in this city. See a fuller timeline of all of Bicycle Jack's accomplishements at the CBC. Thanks to Sue-Ann Levy for the title, "Bicycle Jack". It's not really derogatory you know.
I first met Jack and Olivia a few years ago as they road their tandem bike together up to Downsview Park from City Hall to support the SARS concert, and I was riding along as a Cycling Ambassador, working for the City. They could really fly on that bike as we took over the closed off Allen Expressway. When Olivia was councillor I would regularly see her bike on her way to work. Jack was a dedicated supporter of cycling and sustainable, equitable transportation. He saw it as integral to social justice, and was passionate about cycling issues just like he was passionate about homelessness, support for seniors and children, and other environmental issues.
As City Councillor he chaired the Toronto Cycling Committee before it was officially supported by City Hall. Now that Mayor Ford has disbanded all citizen committees, Jack convinced his son, Councillor Mike Layton, to chair the Toronto Cycling Committee out of his own office. The committee now meets regularly with Toronto Cyclists Union and other cycling organizations advising the city through this backdoor but effective route.
As chair Jack presented Wayne Scott with an award for his "food as fuel" so that couriers could get a tax credit for their food purchases during the work day.
Source: Ottawa Citizen
Jack was a big supporter of the Community Bicycle Network's Bikeshare program. I attended an early meeting in 2000 where housemate Todd Parsons presented the plan to an enthusiastic Jack. Bikeshare eventually got funding from the Toronto Atmospheric Fund and helped to inspire Bixi Toronto.
Thank you for carrying on the spirit of Tommy Douglas, Jack.