Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jack Layton 1950-2011

On election night in May, Jack Layton, the NDP's most fearless soldier, raised his walking cane like a sabre, to a cheering army of supporters, after slaying the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois. Layton led his party to a record number of seats, and the most dramatic political upset in Canadian history.

If there is a political gene, Layton had it. His great-grandfather was a Father of Confederation, his grandfather in the provincial Quebec cabinet, and his father in Mulroney's cabinet. He himself was an active community advocate since his youth, and served on municipal councils, as MP, and party leader. As the underdog socialist NDP, he has continually increased his party's representation in the last four elections. Each election brought more seats than the one previous, but this years win wiped out the "always third place underdog" image. For the first time he led the NDP to official opposition status. Not too bad for a cancer survivor, a campaigner with a fractured and fragile hip, and possibly a brewing new type of cancer developing in his body. In May, a magnificent political success.. how fragile life is.. just a few months later..

It's a pity that we will never know how he might one day have performed as Prime Minister. He was an outspoken soldier for equal rights, and fought for the underprivileged and groups treated unfairly. On a personal level, Layton was a supportive and positive person. On the CBC/NL radio Monday, a local female musician, whose name escapes me, said that Layton was a fan of hers, and purchased each of her recordings. "The only politician who has ever done that," she said. Nice guy hey.

In politics, and in many peoples' hearts Jack Layton will be truly missed.