'We deserve to know a lot more than we’ve been told to date'

Andre Picard says Jack Layton has a responsibility and an opportunity to explain his medical situation fully.

Mr. Layton should tell his political family – the electorate – what he tells his immediate family: what kind of cancer he has, the treatment he will undergo and the prognosis. That is part of being a modern-day political leader … during his sick leave he still has an opportunity to make a powerful statement about transparency and openness, and to serve as an inspiration for cancer patients at the same time.

I’m not sure there’s a sturdy connection to be made between demanding the release of Afghan detainee documents—”the culture of secrecy that has enveloped federal politics under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives”—and disclosing the details of one’s personal battle with cancer. I also don’t know if the leader of the opposition should have to discuss his personal health because of a public proclivity for gossip and cynicism. But there is that question of what we would accept from a prime minister and, if we would demand more, whether that should apply to the opposition leader.

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