As most of you are probably aware, Jack Layton, leader of the NDP and the official opposition, died this week from cancer. He was 61 years young. Mr. Layton was a charismatic and dedicated politician, and based on the outpouring of emotion and support, someone who truly resonated with Canadians.
To be perfectly honest, I have never been moved by the death of a politician until this week. Would Jack’s death be replaced by any of our other political leaders, I’m not sure if I would feel the same sense of loss. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not wishing this fate on anyone. I just don’t think other politicians have been able to connect like Jack did. And now I’m left with this feeling that a very important and desperately needed voice in parliament has been silenced. It feels as if our country has lost someone invaluable.
True to form, even on his deathbed Jack was thinking about the future of this country. His legacy is probably best summarized in his own words:
“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.” (read the entire Letter To Canadians here)
His final words are simple, but speak so loudly that one can’t help but pay attention. In a world where anger, fear, and despair are the common currency, it’s essential to be reminded that we must choose love, hope and optimism over all else. Not surprisingly, his final words have been tweeted, facebooked, IM’d, BBM’d, etc., around the world probably several times over, because this is a message for everyone, not just Canadians. Ultimately, I hope his final words become a sort of Canadian Anthem. Something that each and every one of us, regardless of political affiliation can hold onto; something that we can remember; something that we can use in our daily lives; something that we can be extremely proud of.
Rest in Peace Mr. Layton.
You will be missed.
- Jack Layton’s final public words: “Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear.” (boingboing.net)
- Theres a little bit of Jack Layton in all of us (theglobeandmail.com)
- Jack Layton: A True Leader (colleensharen.wordpress.com)
- Nat & Marie: Jack Layton’s Final Words Go Global (huffingtonpost.ca)
- Jack Layton / A Canadian Who Cared / Dead At 61 (archemdis.wordpress.com)
- RIP Jack Layton (beautifulthieves.wordpress.com)
- Jack Layton: A Message for All (shawnurban.wordpress.com)
- 24 August 2011. A Great Man Passes… Jack Layton Will be Missed (02varvara.wordpress.com)
- Layton eulogy to be delivered by eloquent Stephen Lewis (canada.com)
- Mourners pay respects to NDP leader Layton (ctv.ca)
- NDP Leader Jack Layton Dies of Cancer at 61 (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
- Canadian NDP leader Jack Layton dies of cancer Jack Layton, dead… (shortformblog.tumblr.com)
- Jack Layton, leader of the NDP, died today (pakos.me)