Layton denies Sun Media's massage parlour allegations
Published Friday, April 29, 2011 10:19PM EDT
NDP Leader Jack Layton says he's the victim of a smear from Sun Media, which is alleging that Layton was found at a Toronto massage parlour in 1996.
"Absolutely nothing wrong was done; there's no wrongdoing here and yet the smears start," he said Friday night. "And you know this is why a lot of people get turned off politics and don't even want to get involved."
"We're just going to keep up the campaign right through to the end and call for that change," he added.
A lawyer for the NDP issued a letter to Sun Media that threatened legal action if the allegations were printed in the company's newspapers. The story is already on Sun Media's website.
"The facts are that Mr. Layton had obtained a massage from a massage therapist, but had no knowledge whatsoever that the therapist's location may have been used for illicit purposes," wrote laywer Brian Iler. "He does recall being advised by the police at the time that he did nothing wrong, but that the location was questionable, and to be stayed away from. Mr. Layton gave the officer his name and address, and nothing further happened.
"Any statement or inference that Mr. Layton's actions or behaviour was other than the facts stated above would be without any factual basis, would clearly be made with malice, and ought not to be published."
Layton's wife, fellow Toronto NDP MP Olivia Chow, said she was aware of the incident and her husband had done nothing wrong.
"In the last hours of this election, this is nothing more than a smear campaign in an attempt to question my husband's character," Chow said in a statement.
The incident happened when Layton was a Toronto city councillor. Chow noted that the massage clinic in question was a licensed establishment with the city of Toronto, and that her husband frequently received massages as part of his fitness regimen.
"Sixteen years ago, my husband went for a massage at a massage clinic that is registered with the City of Toronto. He exercises regularly; he was and remains in great shape; and he needed a massage," Chow said.
"No one was more surprised than my husband when the police informed him of allegations of potential wrong doing at this establishment. He told me about the incident after it happened."
The allegations surfaced Friday evening, less than three days before Canadians head to the polls. The NDP, under Layton's leadership, have been riding a large wave of support that has put them second behind the Conservatives.
Chow stressed that any "any insinuation of wrongdoing on the part of my husband is completely and utterly false, which is why after 16 years and 8 election campaigns that my husband has campaigned in, this has never been an issue."
Chow further linked the allegations to politics, noting that "this is another reason why politics in this country need to change and on Monday, Canadians will have their chance to do just that."