Jack Layton skittish about moving into Stornoway
New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton and NDP MP Olivia Chow walk up to the entrance of Stornoway, the house of the leader of the opposition in Ottawa, on Wednesday, June 15, 2011. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, June 15, 2011 7:28PM EDT
OTTAWA - Jack Layton, the self-styled champion of working families, seems a bit uncomfortable about his posh new digs.
The NDP leader and his wife, MP Olivia Chow, have moved into Stornoway, a taxpayer-funded perk bestowed on the leader of the official Opposition.
Layton is the first New Democrat in history to reside in the 34-room, stately mansion in Ottawa's tony Rockcliffe area.
He and his wife, MP Olivia Chow, were in no rush to pick up the keys to the official residence, waiting more than a month after the May 2 election.
And as they moved in Wednesday, Layton was acting as though he's strictly a guest in a sort of exclusive bed and breakfast.
He reminded reporters that his home remains in Toronto.
"It's a privilege and it's an honour and Olivia and I are certainly looking forward to visiting this beautiful, historic building and being able to stay there during the session when we're here in Ottawa," he said.
"We're still going to be living in Toronto with Olivia's mom, as we have for so many years."
An NDP strategist said Layton's seeming lack of enthusiasm for the luxurious official residence and its impeccably kept grounds stems from a recognition that "it's not his house ... it's the people of Canada's house."
"He doesn't accept it with a sense of entitlement."