Election 2008: Layton says Opposition’s voice will be heard in Ottawa

Even though Stephen Harper won another crack at prime minister, New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton will have a louder voice in Parliament this time around.

Layton and the NDP won 37 seats in the federal election, including his own riding, Toronto-Danforth. He emphasized the upside of the minority government in his victory speech Tuesday night at the Kool Haus in downtown Toronto.

“No party has a mandate to implement an agenda without an agreement from the other parties,” Layton said.

The NDP gained one seat in Quebec and five seats in British Columbia. It also increased its representation in Ontario by winning four new seats.

Layton stressed the need for all parties to put aside the “acrimony that arises in campaigns.”

“We’re going to go in to the next Parliament ready to work with other parties in the interest of Canadians,” he said.

Although teamwork was the focus of the victory speech, Layton didn’t miss an opportunity to criticize his opponent’s lack of vision with regard to the economy.

“My colleagues from all parties discovered during this campaign that people were very worried about the economy,” he said. “If they’d been talking to ordinary people, they’d have known something was wrong years ago when manufacturing and forestry jobs started disappearing from this country.”

Layton didn’t win the top job, but he said the NDP had a successful campaign.

“We didn’t quite get the gold medal, but we gave it our best shot, and it was a very good shot,” he said. “I ran so we could put the kitchen table first and not just have it always be the boardroom table.”