“Courage My Friends, ‘tis Never Too Late to Build A Better World.”: Rip Jack Layton
I am going to take a break from my usual topic of crime to talk about some sad news this morning. Mr Jack Layton passed away at 4:45am Aug 22, 2011 of cancer. A statement was released this morning on the NDP website that read: “We deeply regret to inform you that the Honourable Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, passed away at 4:45 am today, Monday August 22. He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones.”
This is indeed a sad loss for Canada. Mr Layton was the reason I got interested in politics and he was the reason why I didn’t stop reading about politics. He gave me hope for Canada, and the future of our government. Whether or not one agreed with his politics doesn’t seem to matter on this sad day. His death has affected people across political lines and everyone is saddened at the loss of such a passionate caring humane being:
“Jack was an enthusiastic and passionate politician who held strongly to his convictions during his long career in public life.” – Ed Stalmach, AB premier
“He was an inspiration to all who believe in a more just, open and equitable society. he embodied hope for meaningful and progressive political change in Canada. He showed us that it was possible.” – Brian Manson, AB NDP leader
“Jack gave his fight against cancer everything he had. Indeed, Jack never backed down from any fight.”- PM Harper
“I learned with great sadness we just lost Jack Layton. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.” – Governor General David Johnston
“Deeply saddened by news about Jack Layton, Arlene and I send deepest condolences to Olivia and family. He is a loss to a grieving Canada.” – Liberal Leader Bob Rae
“Collectively, Canadian hearts are breaking,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May in a statement. “Jack will always be remembered for his unfailing love of Canada and his dedication to this country and its citizens.” – Elizabeth May
“I will never forget the image of Jack campaigning as the happy warrior. His energy, enthusiasm and passion for politics and for the Canadian people were undeniable. Something I will never forget. A standard for all of us.” – American Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson
Mr Layton will always be remembered as the politician that worked towards public good, a man who truly cared about Canada. The man who put the NDP on the map with a historical 103 seats won in parliament in the 2011 elections.
Mr Layton was no stranger to politics growing up he was the son of a progressive conservative, Robert Layton. And would be elected to Toronto city council in 1982. Then on January 25, 2003 Layton would be elected as the new NDP leader and this move would forever change the role of the NDP in Canadian politics. Layton worked relentlessly to gain support for the NDP over the next 8 years and in 2011 it would pay off when for the first time in the party’s history the NDP would take away 103 seats in parliament and become the official opposition to the Canadian government.
Mr Layton wasn’t just a politician though he took on many different causes over the years. Among them
he advocated for the creation of a city-funded education team to help combat the AIDS crisis in Toronto, Canada. He was also an advocate for women and was not only passionate about stopping violence he was also one of the 1991 advocates who started an organization that is close to my heart. The White Ribbon Campaign. The White Ribbon campaign is to date the largest campaign of men working to end violence against women. The focus of this campaign is to educate men and boys and has become an education effort in over 55 countries around the world.
The campaign released a statement on their website whiteribbon.ca “The entire White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) family is shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Layton today. He died peacefully with his family by his side. We extend our deepest condolences to Olivia, Mike and Sarah and his entire great, big family. He felt men had to have both a role and responsibility in working to end violence against women, that we needed to step up our efforts in promoting gender equality, and be accountable to challenging the most harmful aspects of masculinity…. I choose to leave with another favourite quote of yours, “Don’t ever let them tell you it can’t be done.” Rest in peace Jack, we will all miss you dearly.”
A politician that gave me hope for Canada. If we all only cared as much about Canada as Mr. Layton we’d be a better country. RIP Mr Layton you will be missed. Canada will be giving Mr. Layton a state funeral on Saturday August 27, 2011. According to the release “Prime Minister Harper has exercised his discretion and has offered Ms. [Olivia] Chow a state funeral for Jack Layton. She has accepted. Canadians will have an opportunity to salute Jack Layton’s contribution to public life as well as offer their heartfelt condolences.” The NDP have set up a section on their website as well where you may express your Condolences to the family. And if you are in the Calgary area Wed Aug 24 there will be a Vigil held at Tompkins park at 730 pm.
Layton had one last thing to say to Canadians before he passed away. On Aug 22, 2011 his family released a letter he had written to Canada ( I personally recommend a box of tissues):
August 20, 2011
Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.
Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.
I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.
I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.
A few additional thoughts:
To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.
To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.
To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.
To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.
To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.
And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.
My friends, 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.
All my very best,
And finally I leave you with mourners on Twitter:
“Let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” – RIP Jack Layton, Great politician, Great man
RIP Jack Layton. You are the example of what politicians need to be, honest
Canadian Politician Jack Layton died on August 22nd, 2011. RIPJack Layton.
Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. – RIP Jack Layton
I can’t stop crying after reading his letter. #RIPJack Layton.
RIP Jack Layton it makes me so sad that the only actual good prime minister candidate passed away
Makes me happy to see that RIP Jack Layton is trending worldwide. The man deserved so much more recognition than he received for his work.