Windsor native hopes to continue Layton’s legacy

Ashley Thompson
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Craig Scott vies for the NDP nomination for Toronto-Danforth

Craig Scott will learn Jan. 9 if he’s been selected to represent the NDP for the Toronto-Danforth riding.

A Windsor native has his sights set on the House of Commons seat left vacant by Jack Layton.

Craig Scott, the son of Don and Barbara Scott, is pursuing the NDP nomination in Layton’s former constituency, Toronto-Danforth.

The Osgoode Hall Law School professor knows of three other contestants eager to learn the results of the Jan. 9 nomination meeting that will decide who will represent the NDP in an upcoming by-election for the riding that was dominated by the party’s late leader from 2004 until he died in August.

“Nobody can replace Jack and that’s a given. At the same time, I’ll do my very best to try to reach for the bar he set,” Scott said in a phone interview Dec. 30.

“The problem is, the bloody bar is pretty high.”

Like Layton, Scott, a long-time Toronto resident and supporter of the New Democratic Party, has a passion for social justice. He has devoted much of his career to advocating for human rights and equality. He has done extensive humanitarian work in Canada, South Africa, Honduras, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

“I have spent my career fighting for social justice at home, and abroad. Now I want to continue Jack Layton’s legacy of fighting for social justice in parliament,” said Scott, in a release announcing his bid for the nomination on www.craigscottndp.ca.

Scott says he felt compelled to get involved in national politics following Layton’s death.

“With… Jack Layton’s passing I think I was affected in the way many people were. He did an awful lot to motivate people and show the beginnings of a different kind of politics,” Scott said.

“It’s time for him to rest, and... the rest of us to step up.”

Now, with his international relations expertise and many renowned global activists in his corner, Scott is a top contender for nomination in one of the largest NDP memberships in the country.

“Nobody can replace Jack and that’s a given. At the same time, I’ll do my very best to try to reach for the bar he set.” Craig Scott

“The butterflies are still there but they don’t… flutter around in the same sort of big flock-like burst that they did awhile ago. I’ve felt surprisingly energized since deciding to do this Dec. 9,” said Scott, of putting his law career on the backburner.  

“It could still be that I won’t get the nomination but, at the same time, I’m feeling good about trying. I would never have been able to live with myself if I hadn’t decided to try.”

If elected to parliament, Scott says he will be an advocate for a green and sustainable global economy, fair and inclusive policy making in a Canada where everyone can feel at home, equality, better support programs for members of the lesbian, gay and transgender communities, and Aboriginal rights.

“I think the NDP is probably in the best position to come up with some kind of a historic move forward that will actually give hope to those Aboriginal communities across the country that aren’t enjoying what it means to be part of this country,” Scott said.

“I honestly do not think that the country needs the Tories in power again in 2015. I think what they’re going to do over the next three years will be enough of a signal of whether Canadians want that kind of approach and ideology. I’d like to be part of providing an alternative for 2015.”

Scott, who left Windsor at 17, says his small-town upbringing — with a renowned artist as a father and a community-oriented mother — will make it easier for him to remember what, and who, matters most regardless of where his political endeavours may lead him.

“I’m doing this to help try… get some of the right things done.”

 

Organizations: New Democratic Party, House of Commons

Geographic location: Windsor, Canada, Toronto South Africa Honduras Sri Lanka Afghanistan

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