POLITICS

What editors, news producers said about 2011's Newsmaker of the Year

12/22/2011 04:30 EST | Updated 02/20/2012 05:12 EST
OTTAWA - Quotes from voters who chose Jack Layton, the late NDP leader, as Canada's top newsmaker for 2011 in the annual poll of news organizations by The Canadian Press:

"He's the person responsible for the NDP's status as the official Opposition, a status based on its landslide victory in Quebec and the near-disappearance of the Bloc Quebecois, which shook the entire sovereignty movement. The importance of Jack in this historic breakthrough — which is even more important than the fact Stephen Harper's Conservatives now form a majority government — has become even more obvious since his death, an event that has completely weakened his party." — Josee Boileau, managing editor, Montreal's Le Devoir.

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"From his unlikely 'official Opposition' victory to touching the heart of a nation, including critics and supporters, Jack was the Newsmaker of the Year. He could very well be the front-runner already for Newsmaker of the Decade." — James M. Miller, managing editor, Penticton Herald, Penticton, B.C.

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"Stephen Harper's long-awaited majority was big news, but Jack Layton and the NDP provided more story lines. They made party history with a second-place finish, and Layton's subsequent death tugged at heartstrings regardless of political stripe and kicked off discussion about the NDP's future." — Tom Ayers, director of editorial, Cape Breton Post, Sydney, N.S.

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''Jack Layton pulled off the tour de force of the year in politics, but we will remember mostly his dignity as he faced death as well as his message of peace and hope.'' — Gaetan Chiasson, news director, Acadie Nouvelle, Caraquet, N.B.

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"Jack Layton entered the federal campaign with many wondering if he was healthy enough to handle the grind. He then surprised everyone by making a historic breakthrough, not only taking the NDP to official Opposition status but also helping take out the Bloc Quebecois. His fight against cancer not only struck a chord with Canadians but was followed by an outpouring at his funeral rarely seen in Canada when a politician is laid to rest." — Paul Samyn, city editor, Winnipeg Free Press.

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''His meteoric rise and his hasty departure made people react. He is unquestionably one of the most liked politicians we've had in the last several years. His death moved the whole nation.'' — Marc Gendron, news director, La Voix de l'Est, Granby, Que.

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"The unexpected rise to official opposition, the collective shock of an overwhelmed nation at the sight of Jack Layton addressing the devastating return of his cancer, and ultimately the outpouring of grief upon news of his death a few weeks later easily make Layton Canada's newsmaker for 2011." — Brad Works, managing editor, Amherst Daily News, Amherst, N.S.

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"Whether you supported the NDP or another party, it seemed everyone knew Jack Layton and most people at least respected him. Of all the mainstream leaders in the federal election, he was the one most average Canadians felt comfortable around and could relate to best. The success of his party probably fell mostly on his leadership and his death was a huge loss not just for his party but for all of Canada." — Lesley Sheppard, managing editor, Moose Jaw Times-Herald, Moose Jaw, Sask.

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"An historic breakthrough for Layton and the NDP, with such a tragically short time to savour it or for Layton, to act upon." — Murray Wood, news director, News Talk 9890 CJME, Regina.

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"The wave of shifting support to the NDP in the election is something we haven't seen in a long time, and the outpouring of grief after his Layton's death is also something not seen in a long time." — Tim Kucharuk, reporter, CKRW, Whitehorse, Yukon.

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