12/22/2011 04:41 EST | Updated 02/20/2012 05:12 EST

Yahoo! Canada readers concur with newsrooms, name Layton Newsmaker of the Year

TORONTO - Canadians are siding with the country's leading newsrooms in choosing Jack Layton as the Newsmaker of the Year.

The late NDP leader — who died mere months after propelling his party to the rank of official Opposition — lapped the other nominees in Yahoo! Canada's online reader poll, which is conducted alongside the annual survey of newsrooms by The Canadian Press.

Layton claimed half of the online votes cast, with hockey commentator Don Cherry a distant second at 16 per cent. Prime Minister Stephen Harper garnered 10 per cent of the vote, narrowly edging the Occupy Canada protesters at 9.5 per cent.

Stratford, Ont., pop sensation Justin Bieber, who made tabloid headlines earlier this year when a fan named him in a paternity suit that she later dropped, rounded out the top five with 3.4 per cent of the vote.

Yahoo! Canada's readers also cast their votes for a host of other Canadian newsmakers as well.

Their ranks included retired CTV news anchor Lloyd Robertson, former auditor general Sheila Fraser and Canada's newest female political leaders — Nunavut's Eva Aariak, Kathy Dunderdale of Newfoundland and Labrador, Alison Redford of Alberta and B.C.'s Christy Clark.

Disgraced former media baron Conrad Black and Research in Motion co-founders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis were also popular choices.

Grammy-winning Montreal musical darlings Arcade Fire, Quebec Premier Jean Charest, the late serial killer Clifford Olson and embattled Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois brought up the rear, each garnering less than one per cent of the vote.