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We’ll Miss You, Jack

2011/08/27

Today is the state funeral for the Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, and the Leader of the Official Opposition in the Canadian Parliament, Mr. Jack Layton. Like many other Canadians, I was surprised by the depth of the sadness I felt on hearing that Mr. Layton had passed away on Monday, only months after scoring a huge election victory for his party. And his last letter to Canadians was inspirational and moving, a reminder to us that we have been, and can be again, better than we are now.  In Now Magazine this week, Jian Ghomeshi wrote these words of tribute to “Jack”, as Canadians have come to call Mr. Layton:

Jack developed as a politician and a statesman over the years. He grew into himself. There were elections he did not win early on and times when I debated friends who accused him of being too slick or inconsistent or radical, or not radical enough.

But he found his footing, becoming Canada’s most beloved and admired political figure. He learned to play to his genuine nature. He learned that the general public tends to appreciate it when our leaders are real. And no matter what their views on his politics, by the big election in 2011, very few in this country doubted Jack’s honesty or commitment to his beliefs.

So, today I’m wearing orange, the NDP colour, in tribute to Mr. Layton and his accomplishments, and as a reminder to myself that, as he wrote only last Saturday:

Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 2011/08/27 8:04 am

    I felt grief when I heard of his passing; too few politicians have the moral fiber which he possessed. A politician with few exceptions in Canada is someone who believes that the worst possible outcome for the world is that he or she not be re-elected. Jack was one of the rare exceptions,

    In this time of potentially catastrophic climate change we need strategic thinkers and statesmen, not greedy tacticians. Jack showed the way.

  2. 2011/08/27 8:24 am

    Thanks for the post Christine, unfortunately the Tories are already insulting Canadians and Jack before he’s even in the ground. If you can stomach it read todays editorial in the Winnipeg Sun and tell me what you think.

    http://www.winnipegsun.com/2011/08/26/a-politician-not-a-saint

    I think it’s disgusting.

    • 2011/08/27 11:06 am

      Thanks for the link. I’ve posted my comment, above, in reply. Somebody has to take on the scum.

  3. Nancy P. permalink
    2011/08/27 8:38 am

    A clear, simple tribute which expresses my thoughts and feelings well – thanks to both 350.org and Jion. And, my thanks as well to Jack Layton for living his life as he did and giving so much of himself to Canada and Canadians. It’s up to us to carry those ideals and that committment forward.

  4. Christine permalink*
    2011/08/27 9:13 pm

    Hi folks – I’ve been on the road today, so am just catching up. I’m not surprised by the Wpg Sun’s petty and small-minded article, and told them so.

    Had a chance to listen to the whole funeral service on the radio as we drove. Lots of inspiration and celebration there! I did wonder what our esteemed PM was feeling as he sat through it!

  5. 2011/08/28 5:41 pm

    I too, and surprised at the depth of sadness I feel. I think it is because he represented change, a hope and a dream what Canada could become, and because he seemed so sincere, the real deal.

    I too, listened to the funeral on the radio, but then had to run to the TV for the eulogy by Stephen Lewis, which left me in tears. My favourite quote was when he quoted Arundhati Roy.

    “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.”

    Beautiful.

    • Christine permalink*
      2011/08/28 8:31 pm

      It was quite a unique and memorable event to be part of, I agree, Sherry, even if we weren’t there in person. And I love the quote, too (I used it on my blog today!)

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