There, I said it..
Back in March, he faced a bunch of reporters who had concerns about his health, but who were hesitant to ask him about it because they felt it might be too personal and intrusive. Here's John Geddes' write up at the time in Maclean's:
Apparently, I’m not the only reporter who feels this way. When Layton took questions in the foyer of the House earlier today, CBC’s Laurie Graham prefaced her query about his health by saying, “It seems very personal, and I apologize for that.” Then Graham asked if Layton—who was diagnosed with prostate cancer early last year, underwent treatment, and then had hip surgery early this month—is still being treated for cancer. His answer:
A flat out admission he still had cancer, no? Geddes goes on to write:
Well, I work with my doctors on an ongoing basis like most people with cancer to monitor the situation. They’re happy with how things are going. And like so many people with cancer, you go off to work every day and provide for your families and get the job done. And I draw a lot of inspiration from Canadian people who are in that situation, hundreds of thousands of them, probably.
I reported in Maclean’s on the gist of Layton’s answers about his health. But with an election all but inevitable now, I thought there might be interest in a fuller transcript of that part of our exchange. We spoke in an NDP meeting room just off Parliament Hill on March 11, and I asked about his health before moving on to other questions:
Q.How did you break your hip?
A.I don’t know and the doctors don’t know. When I first began to feel the pain they did an X-ray and they literally could barely could see any fracture. They said it might be a fracture, why don’t we just take the weight off it and see if it heals up. Unfortunately, the bone was not able to handle the fracture. It just got worse. And before you knew it the only option was surgery. It wasn’t going to heal itself...He didn't know and his doctors didn't know? Did no one think it might have had something to do with his cancer (since it's common knowledge in medical circles that the disease is often implicated in hip fractures)? Or did did he and they prefer to keep mum about it, and let Jack's famous optimism win out?
I guess what I'm really asking is: Did Layton and his docs have an inkling that he was sicker than he said he was, and if so, was it really responsible of him to plunge into a exhausting election campaign?