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Prime Minister Stephen Harper lays a wreath in Resolute, Nunavut, on Aug. 23, 2011 after a weekend plane crash killed a dozen people. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper lays a wreath in Resolute, Nunavut, on Aug. 23, 2011 after a weekend plane crash killed a dozen people. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)

Filibuster Debate

Recalling final House exchange, Harper hails Layton's optimism Add to ...

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the thing he’ll remember most about Jack Layton is his optimism.

Mr. Harper told reporters who accompanied him to the Arctic community of Resolute on Tuesday that he will remember both the big and little things about the man who was his political opponent through eight years in Parliament.

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The Prime Minister, who will attend Mr. Layton’s state funeral in Toronto Saturday, noted there were annual telephone calls at Christmas to wish each other the best of the season.

But the memory that was freshest in him mind occurred in the final days of the spring session, when the New Democrats staged a filibuster to prevent a legislated end to the postal strike.

At one point, both leaders were in the House of Commons. “As you recall [the debate]went on a very long time and were all pretty tired and I came over and sat with Jack,” Mr. Harper said.

They chatted about a number of different things, he said, some personal and some political.

“I don’t mind telling you that I could see at that point that he was a much sicker man than he had been before the election. That was very obvious to me,” the Prime Minister recalled.

“And of course, we were also right in the middle of a big parliamentary battle,” he said. “It was pretty emotional, and we were at loggerheads. But even at that moment, with the big personal challenge he had in front of him and with the big political battle we had going on between us, he was just still full of optimism and goodwill and that’s what I will remember.”

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