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R.I.P. Mr. Layton

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It’s difficult to find the right words to express my current state of being after learning Jack Layton had lost his battle with cancer early this morning. Jack Layton was a hero of mine. Not only in politics but as a man who simply emanated a positive energy as contagious as anything I have ever known in this world.

It was his positivity and his longing to work together as a nation to make Canada the best possible country it could be that will be his legacy. His disdain for partisanship and his hope that one day all Canadians would share the same common dignities such as food, shelter, healthcare and education as their peers. It did not matter what social class you belonged to because you all belonged to Canada and Canada was there to treat you right, or at least it should be.

When I heard that he was coming to speak at Laurier a few years back, I made damn sure I had a seat in that room. Walking in, there was an aura about him and of course plenty of fair trade coffee to go around. I was in awe of his elegance, intelligence and ability to capture the entire room. He even acknowledged the Conservative Students’ Group holding protest signs in the back. Jack would not shy away from debate. He welcomed discourse.

During the most recent election it was clear that Canadians had had their fill of politics. As a country we had lost the majority of our citizens to apathy. We had a Prime Minister who refused to answer more than five questions a day, kicked people with differing political views out of his functions and showed a complete lack of interest in what the public had to say. And then there was Jack. Jack was not having any of it. Despite his health issues and recent hip surgery, Jack campaigned like there was no tomorrow. Sad to think that perhaps that was truly how he felt.

Long written off as almost a “fringe” party, Jack brought the NDP back from the brink. He did it with a smile. He did it with the promise of cohesion in Ottawa. While never one to back down from a fight, he was willing and his party was willing to work as the Official Opposition for the benefit of the entire country.

When Jack announced he would be stepping away to fight his second battle with cancer, he truly believed that he would win and that he would be back to fight for Canadian families and despite how terribly frail he appeared, I too believed he would win. After all, this was Jack Layton and the sheer folklore behind him would surely guide him through the treatment and right back to Parliament Hill.

I did not want to believe that he could lose. To lose Jack would be to lose the hope he instilled. The death of Jack would mean the death of cooperative politics. As I sit here typing, I can only hope that this is not so. As I sit here typing the condolences and well wishes to the Layton family will continue to pour in. Offering what little comfort they can. As I sit here typing we can only have faith that Jack’s tenacity, hope and fight for a better Canada will be maintained. That to honour his life, Ottawa will at least attempt to find common ground.

Jack often quoted a political hero of his own:

“Courage, my friends; ’tis not too late to build a better world.” – Tommy Douglas

Rest in Peace Jack, you will be forever missed.


Written by josiahh

August 22, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Posted in Politics

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. Now that is some terrific writing.

    hotshot bald cop

    August 30, 2011 at 3:11 PM

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