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In 1969, Laxer, along with his father Robert Laxer and Mel Watkins, founded the Waffle, a radical left wing group influenced by the New Left, the anti-Vietnam War movement and Canadian economic nationalism, that tried to win control of the New Democratic Party (NDP).
In 1971, Laxer ran for the leadership of the federal NDP, and shocked the convention by winning one-third of the vote against David Lewis. The Waffle was ultimately forced out of the NDP and briefly became an independent political party under the name "Movement for an Independent Socialist Canada". Laxer and other Wafflers unsuccessfully ran for Parliament in 1974. This electoral failure led to the Waffle's dissolution, and Laxer concentrated on his work as an academic at York University and in broadcasting.
In 1981, he was hired as director of research for the federal NDP, but left in controversy in 1983 when he published a report critiquing the party's economic policies as being "out of date".
Laxer remains prominent as an author, columnist and commentator.
Laxer has four children: Michael, Kate, Emily and Jonathan.
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