2011 was the high water-mark for Canada's New Democrats. Jack Layton, with his Dabney Coleman good looks, neatly-trimmed mustache and Chinese wife was the embodiment of sane progressivism. Under his guidance, the youngest of Canada's major political parties rose from back-bench obscurity to Official Opposition in 5 short years. It was a bravura performance, and a hopeful moment for those of us who, like myself, had joined back in 1982. Back then the NDP's solid but turgid Ed Broadbent provided the only alternative to Prime Minister Joe Clark's laughably incompetent Conservative government and a newly reminted Pierre Elliott Trudeau.