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Jack Layton was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1950 and grew up in the small town of Hudson, on the Ottawa River in Quebec. He received his Bachelors degree from McGill University and his Masters degree and PhD from York University. His doctoral thesis concerned attempts by countries to control multinational capital flows. Layton became a professor at Ryerson University in 1974 and has taught at all of Toronto's universities.
For nearly 20 years Layton served as a city councillor in Toronto. He also served as President of the Federation of Canadians Municipalities where he forged a united and powerful lobby that led to a new national focus on the state of Canada's municipalities and the services they deliver.
Jack Layton succeeded Alexa McDonough as NDP Leader in January 2003.
Layton was elected MP in Toronto-Danforth in the 2004 federal election which saw the NDP's national vote climb by more than one million votes.
In May 2005 Layton negotiated an amendment to the government's budget in exchange for NDP support in the minority Parliament. The NDP's budget amendment included deferring $4.6 billion in corporate tax cuts and instead invested that money into lowering costs for education, cutting pollution, building affordable housing, more transit, increased foreign aid, and new protection for pensions in the case of employer bankruptcies. Another example in the NDP's long history of getting results for people.