I'd like to believe that no Canadian would take any amount of joy at a political foe being struck down by a debilitating disease which removes him or her from the political stage.
I didn't vote for Jack nor do I particularly like him or his politics, but he was elected fair and square and I hope that he, like all elected officials get to carry out their mandate in good health, in service to their constituency.
That being said I cannot shake the feeling that Jack hasn't been entirely truthful with us in relation to his disease.
In his speech, he told us that he started feeling ill at the end of the last Parliamentary session, which puts it about mid-June.
He said he consulted doctors who ran tests and then informed him weeks later that he has another, different cancer.
With all due respect, that story doesn't stand up.
"In the closing days of the most recent session of the House of Commons, I started suffering from some stiffness and some pain. And after the House rose, I undertook a series of tests at Princess Margaret Hospital here in Toronto. My battle against prostate cancer, as it turns out from these tests, is going very well. My PSA levels remain very, very low. However, these tests, whose results I received just last week, also indicate that I have a new cancer – non-prostate cancer – that’s going to require further treatment.If Jack Layton is trying to convince us that he only found out he was cancer-stricken last week, he should take a look in the mirror.
It is patently clear to anyone who has nursed a loved one through a debilitating cancer experience that Jack Layton is well into the grip of the disease.
Sorry to be cruel.
Sorry to be the first to say it, but Jack Layton is probably lying about the timeline.
Deep down, you know it as well.
He's probably been hiding his cancer for quite a while and how long he has been ill, is an open question.
Way back at the beginning of June those in attendance at his Stornaway media garden party already noticed his gaunt frame and his weakness. He spent most of the affair in a lawn chair. He was clearly already quite ill and for him to tell us that he didn't know about the cancer then, is probably untenable.
I say it's likely that Layton is lying (but not impossible that he is telling the truth,) because an oncologist explained to me that he's seen patients ignore their illness or refuse to biopsy a tumour because they were obsessed with work.
Could be, but again, rather unlikely. Layton has been ill with prostrate cancer and is well sensitized that he needs to be closely monitored.
In passing, the doctor went on to tell me that speculation in the news media about the specific diagnosis is quite irresponsible. There are many scenarios that could be in play and while many diagnosis are more likely than others, it's impossible to rule out anything.
The broken hip he suffered earlier this year could have been caused by his cancer or be unrelated.
His prostate cancer could have spread, but that is uncommon...
His raspy voice could indicate lung cancer....etc. etc.
So don't believe any of the media diagnosis.
Sadly, Layton's refusal to disclose the type of cancer that he has, in addition to his emaciated condition, leads us to speculate that his cancer is life-threatening and his prognosis poor.
Readers will recall that Mr Layton was particularly generous with information on his prostrate cancer and went to pains to explain that he was doing well. Even in his press conference announcing his new cancer, he made it a point to tell us that his PSA level was low.
His contrasting stinginess with information on his current condition is particularly telling.
And so everybody is too polite to ask the hard question.
When did Layton first find out about the cancer and was it before the last federal election?
Some will say, asking these type of questions is in bad taste, that we should leave Mr. Layton alone because he is in the battle for his life and that pointed questions are out of line and cruel.
That's probably the position of the mainstream press who have already failed in their duty to inform us that Layton was clearly sick. Reporters are falling over themselves to tell us now that they knew Jack Layton wasn't right, that he looked terribly gaunt and weak for quite a while now.
Shame on them for not doing their job. Another failure by Canada's lily-livered press, always too accommodating and deferential.
The country has an absolute right to know if the leader of the opposition has a life-threatening disease, even if it is the early stages.
Mr. Layton has fed the mystery by not engaging in full disclosure.
And so the million dollar question remains. Did Jack Layton know he had this cancer during the last federal election and did he deliberately fail to disclose? If he did, it is a terrible betrayal of the electorate.
If Mr. Layton is telling the truth, it is easy enough to prove. Until then a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the credibility of himself and the NDP.