NDP leader Jack Layton, along with other members of the New Democratic Party rolled into town on August 28 to sponsor a “Pay What You Can” picnic and support Brant MP candidate Mark Laferriere. It all began at 1:00 PM with an open picnic, where all guests was welcome and contributions to the NDP party of any sort were accepted. Guests mingled as the sun glinted off numerous campaign buttons.

Derek Blackburn, seven-time Brant MP, spoke to the crowd first. Once a career politician with 22 years of service under his belt, the 76-year old Blackburn was greeted at the microphone to the sound of thunderous applause. He spoke about his uneasiness with Stephen Harper as a leader, the importance of Canada being an internally peaceful nation and lastly, his excitement about Mr. Laferriere, the current NDP candidate for Brant MP. Blackburn described Mark as, “bright, keen and eager.”

Jack Layton was then introduced with equal enthusiasm. He spoke with purpose and a wide smile, touching on many key issues including the importance of broadening healthcare, helping middle class Canadians end their financial worries and finally getting the community engaged. An ongoing theme seemed to be the particular disconnect of the Conservative Party. Layton candidly pointed out that the Conservatives do have more money, but even so he knows that the NDP can answer “a call for positive action.”

Everyone at the rally seemed excited and particularly giddy around Jack Layton, a man with notable eloquence and focus. He took the time to shake hands and commented to many reporters that the Brant riding is in fact a priority. The speeches were short, but they left a lasting impression that resonated with residents of the city. Even with a magnificent house in the background and a prim wide lawn as the location, the idea of equality and modesty with which the NDP wishes to be associated, shone through.