Monday, August 22, 2011

A Very Sad Day

No, this isn't about me.  I'm fine and I'm heading to my level 2 u/s tomorrow afternoon so no updates on that yet.

Nope, this is about the absolute, sheer waste and loss that cancer creates.  I've been in tears off and on all day today over the loss of J.ack La.yton, the leader of Canada's opposition.  After years of struggling, working hard every day in the trenches, fighting for everyday people, finally to become leader of the opposition (a huge feat for the N.DP as it was the first time they reached that goal) in May 2011, he was snatched from us by cancer ... at 61. He spent just 3 short months as the leader of the opposition unable to truly enjoy the fruits of his labour. 

He was a man of principle who never backed down from a fight even when it looked like it was a losing battle.  He was always optimistic but also a serious pragmatist.  While he certainly wanted to win over voters he never shied away from a principled position even if it made him deeply unpopular.  He was a great debater but never maligned anyone in his rise to the top.  He talked to everyone and ignored no one.  He inspired people of all ages but most importantly young people who had turned away from voting and the traditional political process.  He truly believed that Canada is great and that we could make it even better, so much so that 2 days before he died he wrote a letter to Canadians which is truly inspiring ... he thought of others right until the end.

Our country is in mourning, a truly deep and heartfelt feeling of loss has gripped this country.  RIP Jack, you made this country a better place for everyone.  You will be greatly missed.  Those of us who remain will continue the fight with renewed vigour.

And my last words on this post, which I think are entirely appropriate ...
"Courage, my friends, 'tis not too late to build a better world."  ~ Tommy Douglas


  1. I agree, a very sad moment, he was a great leader and I hope that the NDP can maintain the momentum he brought to them, and keep with his ideals. It is hard to imagine anyone else being able to do the job he started as opposition leader, I hope that whoever ultimatly replaces him as head of the NDP is able to stand up to the current party in power.
    and I'm hoping your ultrasound tomorrow is wonderful, enjoy the sneak peek!

  2. I absolutely agree with everything you've said. I don't think that I've ever been this sad about the death of someone that I don't know. His death has left a huge hole in the face of Canadian politics. I hope that the party can keep his legacy alive and continue to make strides as he would have wanted. I have to say that I am impressed with Harper for his offer of a state funeral and I don't normally say that I'm impressed with harper either :)

  3. Great post...such a heartbreak to lose such a strong passionate leader.

    Good luck today.

  4. He deserves nothing less than a state funeral. what a remarkable man. Although he looked very will ill and frail in his last press conference, I truly thought he would beat his cancer. With such an indomitable spirit, how could he not? I was shocked and devastated by the news of his passing. I really hope the NDP can keep Jack's spirit alive in the party and maintain up the momentum he started.

    Thanks for this post.

  5. Because of my job I can no longer hold a party membership. But it doesn't mean I don't vote orange. I come from a long line of CCF/NDPers and I seriously doubt that will ever change.

    Jack was definitely different in style but as down to earth as many of the other leaders. It is just so sad that he had so much work yet to do.

    I'm not quite sure who is going to become the leader. I can't think of anyone out there who would be the right fit. But people thought the same thing before Jack became leader and look how that turned out. My dad knew him and when he first met him years ago through FCM, pre-federal politics days, my dad knew that there was something special about him and that he might just be a great fit for federal leader. And my dad was right. We've started discussing this in my family and I'm sure we'll have a few more discussions next week when I'm back home for work.