Layton’s widow comes to blow wind in Dippers’ sails

Former federal NDP leader Jack Layton’s widow, Olivia Chow, arrived in Whitehorse at 1:30 p.m. today. She will be in the territory for exactly 24 hours...

Former federal NDP leader Jack Layton’s widow, Olivia Chow, arrived in Whitehorse at 1:30 p.m. today.

She will be in the territory for exactly 24 hours, leaving tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., said Robin Steudel, the NDP campaign’s spokesperson.

She’s coming to rally the troops, said Steudel, confirming Chow initiated the visit.

“She said she was interested in coming,” said Steudel. “She basically sent an email saying, ‘I hear the campaign’s going great, how are things?’ And then that turned into her really wanting to come up.”

Chow’s will largely spend time in Whitehorse, canvassing alongside leader Liz Hanson and speaking to the party’s activists and volunteers.

“It’s a big boost for them,” said Steudel. “Seeing that the work they’re doing could really pay off. Giving our activists that kind of energy and that boost, especially as we go into the long weekend where, sometimes, it’s harder to get volunteers out. I think that’s the most tangible thing to get out of this.”

Chow will sit alongside Hanson and Takhini-Kopper King candidate Kate White tonight at Yukon College from 5 to 6 p.m. for a panel on community activism.

“All three of them have experience in terms of doing things at the community level – community-building type things,” said Steudel. “The crux of it is going to be ‘Talk about your experience as an activist, as somebody who wanted to build community and make things better in your community, and how did that turn into the jump to politics.’ And it’s interesting that all three are women.”

But Chow’s visit is not completely about the campaign.

After tabling a bill in the House of Commons last week, calling for a national transit strategy, Chow has booked a few meetings, including one with the Association of Yukon Communities to talk about the territory’s transit issues, said Steudel.

And along with a few other volunteer events, Chow will also be participating in an NDP breakfast at Shipyard’s Park tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.

Her visit will have to remain short, however, as Chow has been selected to be an election night panelist for Ontario’s October 6th election.

Together, Chow and Layton visited the Yukon in 2008 and in 2006, when they paddled the Nahanni River.

Layton passed away on August 22.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

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