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NDP leader Jack Layton and his wife Olivia Chow stand on the steps of the campaign plane as he heads out in Ottawa on Saturday, March 26, 2011. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)
NDP leader Jack Layton and his wife Olivia Chow stand on the steps of the campaign plane as he heads out in Ottawa on Saturday, March 26, 2011. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Ottawa Notebook

Limited media access to Layton unusual for NDP Add to ...

Perhaps it is NDP strategy, perhaps it is the ailments that have hobbled Jack Layton.

But there is something very different about this 2011 New Democrat election campaign - the relatively scarce access being provided to the Leader.

Mr. Layton is normally available to talk to reporters at least once and sometimes several times a day as he travels the country wooing voters.

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He is, after all, the Leader of the fourth party in Parliament and had just 36 seats at dissolution. Like Avis car rental, the NDP motto is normally "we try harder."

But, although he addressed supporters in Ottawa on Saturday morning and plans another speech in Edmonton on Saturday night, there has been no time slotted to speak to reporters.

His first news conference will be held in Vancouver on Sunday.

This is highly unusual behaviour for the normally accessible Mr. Layton. And it has reporters wondering what is up.

When Jack Layton does not speak, reporters suddenly want to listen.

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