Remembering Jack Layton
Jack Layton, leader of the NDP, Canada’s official opposition party. passed away this morning at the age of 61. He had stepped down as leader in July to fight his personal battle with cancer and vowed to be back in time for the next parliament in September.
On a national level, he was likely Canada’s most popular political figure. His style was very personable and he seemed to above the fray. He connected with people with his down to earth personality. He projected honesty and stirred a belief that he deeply cared about people, which was reflected in his policies and beliefs. He dragged the NDP from oblivion to its’ current status. He forced them from being the “Left Wing” soldiers to being a viable alternative to Canada’s Liberal Party, the strategy that transformed from perennial 4th or 5th place finishes to second place.
On a personal level, there is not a chance that I could ever vote for him, and in fact, the very idea that he was head of Canada’s government in waiting scared me. This had nothing to do with him, but with his politics. I always enjoyed listening to him. I didn’t agree with 99,9% of what he said, but he said it well. In many respects, I have been one of his and his parties more vocal critics. That , though is the very nature of politics. One speaks out against or for what you or someone else believes. This discourse usually creates consensus and moves our society down the path to the future. Jack Layton definitely tried to move the discussion down his road, and I respected him for that.
Canada has lost a great personality in it’s political rainbow. He will certainly be missed by most everybody. So long Jack.