'Nothing more than a smear campaign'

This evening, Olivia Chow, the NDP MP and wife of Jack Layton, has released the following statement in response to a story aired by Sun media.

Sixteen years ago, my husband went for a massage at a massage clinic that is registered with the City of Toronto. He exercises regularly; he was and remains in great shape; and he needed a massage. I knew about this appointment, as I always do.  

No one was more surprised than my husband when the police informed him of allegations of potential wrong doing at this establishment. He told me about the incident after it happened. Any insinuation of wrongdoing on the part of my husband is completely and utterly false, which is why after 16 years and 8 election campaigns that my husband has campaigned in, this has never been an issue.    

In the last hours of this election, this is nothing more than a smear campaign in an attempt to question my husband’s character. This is another reason why politics in this country need to change and on Monday, Canadians will have their chance to do just that.   

Lawyers for the NDP sent a letter to Sun media, which reads as follows.

We are the solicitors for the New Democratic Party of Canada.

Our client has obtained information that one or more of your newspapers is considering running a story for tomorrow’s edition that makes allegations about events in 1996 involving Jack Layton, Leader of our client. 

The facts are that Mr. Layton had obtained a massage from a massage therapist, but had no knowledge whatsoever that the therapist’s location may have been used for illicit purposes. He does recall being advised by the police at the time that he did nothing wrong, but that the location was questionable, and to be stayed away from. Mr. Layton gave the officer his name and address, and nothing further happened. 

Any statement or inference that Mr. Layton’s actions or behaviour was other than the facts stated above would be without any factual basis, would clearly made with malice, and ought not to be published.

In fact, it would be irresponsible in the extreme for any such story to be printed.

Damages, as you will appreciate, would be very significant.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.