Thank-you very much to Sylvie Berry and the Paris Star for the awesome article!

It isn’t always black and white in the world of politics.

Last week the nation was informed by NDP leader Jack Layton, that he would stepping down for a temporary leave of absence due to a second battle with cancer. Shortly after, rookie NDP MP for Hull-Aylmer in Quebec was highly supported as a replacement during Layton’s absence. Late last week, only days after the national announcement, a movement and fund raising outreach project was started at the grassroots level here in Brant County and Brantford. “It’s amazing how quickly people move when they feel the need to do something right,” says former NDP candidate for the Brant riding Marc Laferriere.

Upon hearing the unfortunate news, designer Lucas Duguid put together a ribbon and Jack Layton logo, which he donated to the Brant NDP office for the design of charitable T-shirts.

“There isn’t one family in Canada who’s not affected by cancer and seeing Jack struggle with this helps people connect that much more,” says Laferriere. “This is a very personal struggle and he’s exposing himself and sharing his story.” The T-shirts went on sale Friday, July 29 at Custom Colours T-shirts in Brantford. The shirts will sell for $18, with proceeds collected going to the Canadian Cancer Society in Layton’s honour.

Laferriere speaks highly of Layton and is hopeful and optimistic for a quick recovery. “He’s got a way of showing strength, optimism, drive and determination. He always seems to beat expectations and taking on battles he can’t win, then winning them,” says Laferriere. Since Laferriere took second place during the Brant riding elections this past spring, he’s maintained a presence in the community and continues to work and volunteer among other New Democrats.

“My inbox has flooded with well-wishes that I’m forwarding onto Jack. This certainly goes beyond politics, he’s got the community and country’s support.”

Laferriere also thinks highly of Layton’s chosen replacement, Turmel. While campaigning over the past two years, Laferriere recalls watching Turmel’s campaign closely as many of his immediate family members are her constituents in Aylmer. “Nycole has tons of experience, just not as an MP. She has a great deal of poise and experience and is very honest and upfront,” says Laferriere. “People who didn’t know her then, grew to know her well in only a few months. She has a lot of respect.”

Laferriere adds that with Layton’s absence, there’s no doubt the new members in parliament will rise to the occasion and perform well. “Jack’s integral to the party, but the individual members don’t strive to please their leader, but to their constituents. None of that’s changed.”

“It’s a young caucus with a great amount of bench strength and an amazing amount of staff behind the scenes, they’re all very capable.” Laferriere’s role in the community remains strong and his work with the New Democrats is never ending. He’s also continued his work as a social worker in Brantford and Brant County. For more information visit and to order a T-shit call 519-756-3616 or e-mail Shirts can be picked up every Friday at Custom Colours T-shirts in Brantford.