TORONTO — He may never fill Jack Layton’s shoes, but NDP candidate Craig Scott is vowing to follow in the late leader’s footsteps if he manages to hold on to his Toronto seat.
The law professor and political rookie was elected Monday night as the party’s candidate in Toronto-Danforth, the riding left vacant by Layton’s death last August. Scott will go on to represent the party in a yet-to-be-called byelection.
“I hope that the people of Toronto-Danforth — not just the NDP riding members — will remember Jack for the reasons that he should be remembered, and will want this riding not just to stay NDP, but to stay decisively NDP,” Scott said following his win.
“And I believe that’s what’s going to happen.”
Layton’s widow, MP Olivia Chow, issued the call to arms earlier in the evening, challenging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to stop dragging his feet and “bring it on!”
“He seems to find time to pack the unelected Senate with failed Conservative cronies,” Chow said. “We need him to take time for democracy, because that is what New Democrats are all about . . . so call the byelection now.”
Harper has until Feb. 22 to announce the date of the byelection. Scott said he believes the Conservatives are aiming to have the race coincide with the selection of a new party leader in March in an effort to minimize publicity for the Opposition.
Scott, who specializes in human rights law, beat out environmentalist and lawyer Justin Duncan and community activist Claire Prashaw, who worked with Layton in his constituency office.
Prashaw had elicited support from well-known figures such as ex-MP Tony Martin and Wayne Samuelson, former president of the Ontario Federation of Labour.