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.
A letter to Canadians, August 20, 2011
On Saturday, Toronto came to a standstill for the funeral of Jack Layton, one of Canada’s most beloved politicians and Leader of the Official Opposition. Roy Thomson Hall was filled with Canada’s elite but also ordinary Canadians whose numbers spilled out onto the street to say farewell to Jack.
A long time member of Toronto City Council, Layton was the leader of the New Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011. He was a unifying force in the country, particularly between Quebec and the rest of English speaking Canada. Raised in Hudson, Quebec, a small Anglophone town outside of Montreal, Layton was nicknamed Le Bon Jack in La Belle Province.
The historic 2011 election, Layton led the NDP to a long awaited victory with 103 seats. He inspired all of Canada with his caring, down-to-earth manner and his call to a kinder, more unified Canada. Even those who didn’t support his party, respected Jack.
He had been battling prostrate cancer sine 2010 and it looked like he had won during his 2011 campaign for re-election. On July 25, Layton announced he was taking leave from his post to continue his fight with a newly diagnosed cancer.
He died at 4:45 am on August 22, 2011. Canada is still in mourning.
In his final letter to Canadians he reminded us that “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.”
He will be missed.