Monday, August 22, 2011

Jack Layton (1950-2011)

A sad time for Canada.  My sincere condolences to his family and especially Olivia (his wife and MP).

I need to dig up some of my old posts on him regarding his flawless, positive campaigns--a model, really, on how a fringe socialist-based party can galvanize a nation in less than a month.  No one saw or has been able to explain how he was able to win over Quebec this last election. 

I rarely agreed with his policies.  His politics alluded me at times. Remember when he suggested that we should talk with the Taliban?  Everyone laughed.  But then guess what? 

In the previous Parliaments, Jack showed how the NDP, as a small opposition party, can still be effective in "getting things done" within a minority government situation.

His performance in the debates last Spring was really quite outstanding--especially the French one.  If there's one thing my father taught me about politics, no matter what stripe, it's that you have to have passion and conviction.  Jack had that.

I also know that Prime Minister Harper respected him greatly.  It is really too bad we weren't going to see more of these two men debate in the House of Commons--a huge loss for our democracy.  You all know my detest for Liberals--primarily for their lack of ideas and well, ideology altogether.  But I praise the NDP for having convictions and fighting for their cause.  Jack did that.  He inspired others to do so.

Jack proved that campaigns matter, that polls up to then don't really matter, that personality, warmth, and character matters--that despite a bummed hip and cancer treatments, you can still fight to the bitter end.  

So there's something that Jack had that most politicians don't -- chutzpah and humility.  Here's a couple old clips that show this side of the man.

Singing at the Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner...

Not Jack's greatest parliamentary moment, but one of my favourite comebacks.

And here's his last appearance in Question Period only two months ago fighting for Postal Workers. Note his calmness--bringing some needed dignity in the House of Commons, a place that will never be the same without him.

"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...

"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.

RIP Mr. Jack.


Anonymous said...

It's easy to explain how Jack won Quebec last election.

There was nobody else for them to vote for.

It's that simple, and that sad.

Anonymous said...

Good blog bro