2 May 2011

Canada’s lacklustre federal election campaign has finally ignited after claims the man many tip to be the country’s next prime minister was found naked by police in a suspected illegal brothel.

Jack Layton, the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), was discovered lying on a bed in a room with a 5ft 10in Asian woman in her mid-20s during a police search for underage prostitutes in 1996.

The married Layton, who was a Toronto city councillor at the time, was cautioned and released without charge, a retired Asian crime unit officer told the Sun News Network.

In a campaign that has been overshadowed by the royal wedding and hockey playoffs the report comes a critical time - just one day before Canadians go to the polls for the fourth time in seven years.

Mr Layton’s popularity surge is unprecedented in recent Canadian political history with polls and political analysts even tipping him to become the country’s first NDP Prime Minister.

The genial 60-year-old, nicknamed ‘Gentleman Jack’, uses a cane after undergoing hip surgery in March and is recovering from a recent battle with prostate cancer.

The left-leaning NDP currently sits in fourth position on Canada’s political map with just 49 seats. It is well behind Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s ruling Conservatives (143 seats), the Liberal Party (77) and the nationalist Bloc Quebecois (49).

But Mr Layton has been riding an extraordinary wave of popularity, seemingly spurred on by an electorate desperate to break the political stalemate which has delivered a series of Liberal and Conservative minority governments.

Olivia Chow, Mr Layton's wife and a New Democratic Party MP seeking re-election in Toronto, issued a statement saying Mr Layton told her about the incident at the time it happened.

‘No one was more surprised than my husband when the police informed him of allegations of potential wrongdoing at this establishment,’ Mrs Chow said. ‘Any insinuation of wrongdoing on the part of my husband is completely and utterly false.’

Married: Jack Layton and his wife Olivia Chow wave to his political supporters

Mrs Chow described the business as a ’massage clinic’ that was registered with the City of Toronto.

The notebook of the officer who questioned Mr Layton details how the NDP leader was asked whether he received any services of a sexual nature, to which he replied: ‘No sir, I was just getting a shiatsu.’

The officer then asked Mr Layton if he knew that sex acts were being carried out in the building, to which he replied: ‘No sir.’

The policeman’s notes also detail how the woman, from China, denied carrying out a sex act on Mr Layton.

During an unscheduled press call in Vancouver Mr Layton claimed he was being smeared in the final hours of a campaign just as opinion polls have his party poised to make a historic breakthrough.

‘It's unfortunate to see the smear campaign starting in these last few days of the campaign. Absolutely nothing wrong was done,’ he said.

‘There was no wrongdoing here, yet the smears start. And you know, this is why a lot of people get turned off politics and don't even want to get involved.’

Mr Layton did not address the allegations specifically but a lawyer for the New Democratic Party issued a stern warning about the reports.

‘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,’ Brian Iler said.

‘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.’

Mr Iler added that Mr Layton was told by police he did nothing wrong but that the location was questionable. He said Mr Layton gave police his name and address and nothing further happened.

Prostitution is legal in Canada but brothels are outlawed.

SOURCE: Dailymail


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