Today a great Canadian man was lost when Jack Layton passed away in the early hours of the morning. While not perfect, he dedicated his life to bringing justice and equality to Parliament Hill and to shaping Canada into a better nation. He died after leading the NDP to their largest Canadian victory, seeing them become the official opposition of our federal government and giving millions of Canadians hope for a more just Canada. He was a man who loved his country and loved people.
I send my heartfelt sympathies to his family and friends and wish them peace in the difficult days to come. I sincerely hope that Jack’s party will honour him by rising up and continuing their work to make Canada into a better, fairer, kinder nation.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, Jack signed all of his emails with a Tommy Douglas quote and I think we could all learn from the words that inspired him so: “Courage my friends, it’s never too late to build a better world.” To both Jack and Tommy, we hear you and we promise to pick up the torch. Rest in soft peace.
Update: Jack gave a letter to his wife, Olivia Chow, before passing. I have included some of his inspiring words below and you can find the entire letter here.
“And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.
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.”
Thank you Jack, for everything.