Remembering Jack Layton: our thoughts

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duncan cameron
Remembering Jack Layton: our thoughts

 

What memories do we have to share about Jack and his legacy? 

In my mind Jack Layton will forever be remembered for the election campaign of 2011.

In Montreal, his hometown, an NDP rally in a Saint Catherines club was jammed with supporters. There was a line-up down the street. Chantal Hébert wrote about his speech that night: “Jack had perfect pitch.” 

I called him the next day to congratulate him. I was thinking about the homeboy, the Montrealer triumphing in his city, the sweetness of it. This was the Jack Layton who had invited Francophones to a party at his sailing club in Hudson Quebec (and been expelled for doing it). There he was speaking from the heart in Montreal about his country and what its citizens needed to see done, and something was happening: the orange surge in Quebec. Nobody saw it coming, and yet I got a call in Vancouver from a Montreal Francophone friend -- totally non-political  -- who told me the NDP were going to win Quebec. "You mean Outremont, your riding" I said. "No," she said, "Quebec, the whole province." Sure, I thought. A few days later the NDP were at over 30 percent in the polls. Then Duceppe called upon Parizeau to come out on behalf of the Bloc, and the next thing you knew Jack and the party shot up above 40 percent.

The NDP rolled out its brilliant French language television ads featuring Jack. During the campaign, the hip Radio-Canada Sunday night tv talk show Tout le Monde en Parle invited him twice onto its platform, where Jack charmed a viewing audience of a couple of million.  In the leaders debate, Jack turned the tables on Gilles Duceppe, who claimed to have stopped Stephen Harper. Jack fixed his gaze on Duceppe: “He is still there, he is still there! ”  

Election night Jack applauded the election of 59 NDP members from Quebec. The sweetness of becoming leader of the official opposition was tempered by the knowledge that the Harper majority meant grief to come for so many Canadians.

Tonight Radio-Canada TV is just starting a two special on the main network. Jack made his mark on his home province. I would like to think his work in the last election and before could change the political direction of the country, bringing Quebec back into its progressive leading role in Canadian politics.

 

 

Regions: 
Fidel

Thanks for sharing with us, Duncan. You are well thought of here and all. 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

I've read a number of times about Layton's outstanding performance in the French language debate in the recent election. Some quotes from that would probably be appropriate here. (I never got to watch it as my PVR didn't work properly or something.)

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Thanks for starting this, Duncan.

I first saw Jack speak at McGill shortly after he became leader of the NDP. He spoke about the problem Canada faced in the fracturing of its progressive populationsacross the country: what if, he asked us, the people of Saskatchewan and Quebec recognized their common goals and aims? I was so taken by his belief, his enthusiasm, his charisma, that in a few weeks I signed up for a monthly NDP donation. Jack, more than any other politician, made me believe electoral politics could effect real change.

More recently, in a conversation with an NDP MP, I was struck by the raw admiration behind the way this MP spoke about Jack. It was easy to see how the enthusiasm and belief which infected me many years ago equally affected everyone who worked for and with him, at all levels of experience. A tremendous loss indeed.

MegB

I first met Jack while working on his mayoral campaign as a volunteer.  I was not only impressed by his energy, and his willingness to engage people (especially those working for him), but I was impressed and moved by the people who worked so hard for him and were so committed to his campaign.  That kind of loyalty is not for sale.

As the years went by, I worked on a number of rallies and fundraising events and Jack was always available to say a few words, host a silent auction, and generally do everything he could to support causes that were important to people - especially to the homeless and disenfranchised.  He was tireless and devoted to a set of ideals, and he really did live what he believed.

I'm not a "joiner" by any definition of the word, but I joined the NDP so that I could vote for Jack Layton for federal leader.  I have not always agreed with the direction NDP policy has taken, but I never doubted that Jack was one of the best things to ever happen to the NDP.  He was a decent human being, and is sadly missed by so many.

HaileyV

I thought of this board today and the people who admired Jack and worked hard towards his vision for Canada. I am sorry for all of you to have to face such a loss of someone who worked so hard towards such important goals.

I am sorry for all of you who are touched by this.

Sineed

He was a friend to bicycle-riding pinkos everywhere

 Cry

Mr.Tea

I think it would be wonderful if we at Babble did something to honour Jack's legacy and help other people struggling against cancer.

I'd love to help organize a "Jack Layton Memorial Run for the Cure" - a 5km or 10km run to raise money for cancer research. I think that, were he still with us, Jack would have liked that. If there were two things he loved, they were fitness and helping others.

I live in Toronto but this could easily be a cross-Canada event with runs in various cities around the country. It's pretty easy to organize and I know a lot of people would love to do something to honour his legacy.

If anyone is interested, please PM me or we can start another thread and start organizing.

I can't say that I knew Jack well but I think that he'd prefer that, instead of crying over him, that we go out and use his memory as an inspiration to help others.

Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture

Jack Layton giving Alex a pair of pants after Alex accidentially stepped into a koi fish pond in the backyard.

Jack Layton making fun of me after my hamster bit me, saying my hamster was obviously a disaproving capitalist.

Jack and Olivia at the www.rabble.ca fundraiser, 2001 I think. Actually Olivia stole the show and poor Jack had to play the straight-man but he did it cuz he loved her.

Jack trying to explain the physics behind turning on a bicycle without falling inwards during the turn.

Jack vs. the raccoons.

Jack twisting my rubber arm to get this anarchist to finally vote for once, in the May 2, election.

**

Was asked today by a news camera-person after writing "Stay Strong, Olivia" on the memorial at City Hall what I thought of Jack and Olivia's relationship and me saying "I wish I will be that much in love with someone when I'm 50, 60 years old, I can only hope to find such a great partner to love and to love me." I made the female interviewier cry.

Gaian

I believe that only Jack Layton could have brought it off, Duncan. Let's see how we can keep faith with his bravery and optimism by showing the people of Quebec that Jack's confidence in a social democratic and united future was well-placed. It has certainly been a long time surfacing - in both English and French Canada - as I tried to show in this letter, which ran in early August. His optimism always reminded me of one T.C.Douglas at Maple Leaf Gardens a lifetime back.

The Editor:

"A resident of Quebec at the opening days of the "Quiet Revolution", I have long been waiting for the joining of the social democratic values that emerged with that revolution with those of social democracy elsewhere in the country.

Over the intervening, nail-biting half-century, I've watched Liberal and Conservative attempts at maintaining the federal union by appeals to Quebec's self-interest. But they have always turned out to be in the interest of vested commercial interests, and the Bloc Quebecois filled the social-democratic gap.

The presentation of the New Democratic Party as a clear federal choice for the people this spring, heralded the beginning of the long-awaited moment, an emergence of a people not dependent on Brian Mulroney's "roll of the dice" or a Quebec equivalent of Stephen Harper's "firewall" for a solution to Alberta's grievances just 10 years ago.

The Waterloo Region Record has branded Nycole Turmel a "card-carrying sovereignist," despite her protests that she is first a social democrat of long standing, a federalist concerned for the welfare of working Canadians, for gender equality in the workplace, and with a history testifying to those concerns.

Commercial interests again trump understanding and hope.C'est la vie, hereabouts."

----------

Just today I got another mailing, a "personal appeal" from Jack to help re-fill the war chest... in addition to the monthly contributions. He never let up. And we mustn't either.

Gaian

Perhaps that could be a bicycle ride rather than a run, Mr. Tea?

Michelle

Sounds like a nice idea, Mr.Tea.  I see from the NDP website that the family has chosen the Broadbent Institute as the charity they'd like people to donate to in memorium.  So that might be a more suitable choice than cancer research.  Just a thought.

 

Anonymouse

A bike ride memorial, of any kind, sounds nice.

It's Me D

I thought I would take a minute to share this memory of Jack which came to my mind yesterday after I heard the news and was thinking about why Jack - a federal politician after all - had such a special place in my heart.

Five years ago my father ran for the second time as an NDP candidate in a Nova Scotia provincial election. At the time the NDP were a strong second, though both winning the seat - against an incumbent finance minister - and forming government in the province, appeared unlikely. My father is a playwright by trade and I remember the local riding association holding a dinner theatre fundraiser for the local NDP campaign.

To my surprise my dad called - I was a graduate student at Dalhousie University at the time - to tell me that Jack would be joining the local New Democrats for the fundraiser and encouraged me to come out for it. It wasn't my first time meeting Jack, that was at the organizing convention for the new Nova Scotia Young New Democrats a couple years before where Jack came out to offer us his personal support and indulged us, answering questions and spending quite some time taking us young people seriously (needless to say I was impressed).

I did decide to head down to my parents' place for the weekend and attended my dad's dinner theatre NDP fundraiser. My father had written a skit for Jack to perform with Darrel Dexter (then opposition leader in NS); Jack and Darrel took the stage, acting out a skit where the two of them were old men looking back on their careers in politics. It was quite a funny skit and I remember Jack's really throwing himself into it (as he did with every new challenge). After the skit was finished Jack stayed for the remainder of the event and I remember having the opportunity to talk with him over dessert; once again I was impressed with his sincerity.

To me that memory shows the kind of man - and politician - Jack was, sincere, funny, kind, always hardworking, and willing to take the time to support even the unlikeliest candidate. My father didn't win the riding in that election, and the provincial NDP didn't form government. Four years later however the NDP swept the province, the new NDP candidate for the area (the mother of one of my closest friends) won the riding, and Darrel became the first - but not last - NDP premier of Nova Scotia.

It saddens me to think that Jack and Darrel won’t get to reminisce over their political careers as my dad’s skit depicted, but I am grateful to have known him and grateful for his unceasing work to build the NDP to the party it is today.

Jack never gave up the fight and neither should we.

DaveW

my father sent Jack earlier in the year a funny article from my McGill Daily days about campaigning for the NDP in a very middle-class Jewish riding of Montreal back in the Trudeau era;

Jack send my Dad a personal letter, he had obviously read the article and commented that he was sending it on to the NDP Youth wing....

rare as heck for a federal party leader in a pre-election or any period send somebody a personal, 2-paragraph letter.

aka Mycroft

I had Jack as my instructor for a municipal affairs class I was taking at Ryerson. This was during Jack's sabbatical from politics, between his defeat in the mayoral election and his return to city hall. He was an incredibly generous prof, he'd take us on walking tours around the city, had a party at his house (which I missed, unfortunately), and would meet students for a drink in "the Library" (ie the Imperial Pub). I was putting a lot of work into my term paper and missed the deadline as a result. Jack called me up at home and asked me if everything was ok and when I'd be able to hand it in. That's the first, and last, time a professor ever called me at home and is an indication of how much he cared about his students and the interest he took in people.

Bacchus

I met him at a party, lo these many years ago. The gentleman throwing the p;arty always had the brightest and best (and most progressive) artists,  politicians, activists and interesting people there (dont know why I was there) and I got to stand beside Jack and chat with him. It didnt matter the subject, he would always ask me my thoughts and urge me to consider things and try to work something out without trying to 'convert' me to anything. I met him sporatically after that at rabble fundraisers or other parties and he was always gracious, and always ALWAYS willing to talk and consider a situation he had or had not thought of before, and wanted to know my approach.

 

He is the model for my Bacchanae to follow about civic duty

Sean in Ottawa

One march which was in Ottawa to hear the AFN leader speak I was walking in the middle of the pack and found myself beside Jack Layton.

We had not spoken very much before then but he remembered who I was and what union I belonged to. He sent best wishes to others here. then asked me about something-- can't remember what it was. He was interested in my reply and spent about 15 minutes or so talking to me about it. As a high profile politician he could have spent his time flitting about all the important people trying to make the most of it but instead he stayed with me for that time because he was interested in the topic. (I am not an important person except to perhaps some of the people who know me personally.)  ;-)

Anyone who has any doubt that Jack Layton had substance did not talk to him. He could look at times superficial on TV but in person he was not.

Another time I met him it was at an event. We had been talking for a while and we had our picture taken with him. I mentioned there was someone else who would love to have her picture taken with him and I wanted to rush to find the person. He said hey its okay, I'll wait. He had time for people.

I was taking pictures formally for an event on Parliament Hill another time and he was the most cooperative of all the subjects as I had to round up all the suspects for their me-too pictures for their me-walls. Layton remarked how he knew it was a tough job gathering all the people and waited patiently to allow that to be done. This was a guy who did not look at people and measure the time and effort spent with them based on their political value.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

I never actually met Jack, but I did attend five different rallies at which he spoke.

The first was a Stopwar march and rally of about 1,000 in Vancouver in October of 2003. The march began at the Art Gallery, and the speeches were held in front of the Beatty Street Armory. Jack spoke in opposition to Missile Defence.

The second was the very large Stopwar march and Rally of 20,000 in Vancouver on Saturday, March 20, 2004. The rally was part of the international day of action to mark the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. The march began at Peace Flame Park at the south end of the Burrard Bridge, made its way over the bridge, and wound up at Sunset Beach for the rally.  The crowd was so large that it filled the large parking lot adjacent to Sunset Beach, and spilled up the hill beside the parking lot. Again Jack spoke on Missile Defense. Noam Chomsky was the featured speaked on the rally.

Both Jack and Noam were in town for Svend Robinson's for the event that evening at the Orpheum in celebration of Svend Robinson's 25th anniversary as a MP. Both spoke at the event, and Chomsky was again the featured speaker. I didn't manage to get ticket for that event; the lineup for the tickets that UBC NDP had on sale at UBC was long enough that despite lining up half an hour before the tickets went on sale, they were sold out before I got to the front of the line. Due to the demand, UBC NDP got Chomsky to do another talk at the Orpheum on the Sunday morning, March 21, 2004, specifically on Palestine. I did manage to get a ticket for that talk.

The third time I saw Jack was at a Rally in New Westminster on the final weekend of the 2004 election, in support of the Burnaby, New Westminster and Coquitlam candidates. The rally was held in the small parking lot of the restaurant that is known for its "Burger Polls" during federal and provincial elections. The crowd of between 100 and 150 people spilled across the side street directly to the north of the parking lot. Jack's NDP bus blocked off the intersection. The Conservatives held a five person counter demo on the sidewalk kiddy corner from the parking lot.

The fourth time was at a rally at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver during the 2008 election. The crowd was a fair bit larger than the 2004 rally; it filled about 3/4 of the Commodore Ballroom, which according to Wikipedia can accommodate about 990 people. This was a more substantial rally for all the Greater Vancouver area candidates, with a much more professional stage setup.

The fifth and final time was at the massive rally in Burnaby on the final Saturday of the 2011 election. This rally, coming at the height of the Jack-O-Mania following the surgein Quebec, dwarfed even the 2008 rally. The NDP obviously hadn't realized the extent to which the Jack-O-Mania would take off when they booked the film studio at which the rally was held. Despite its relatively large size by film studio standards, the venue was only about 1/4 the size of what was needed to accommodate the huge crowd. Despite getting there an hour early, I didn't make it into the film studio. Fortunately, they opened the large overhead doors on the side of the building, and I count myself lucky that I was able to get up on a planter just outside the building and see in over the heads of the crowd inside. Many in attendance did not even get within earshot of Jack.

I was a fairly big fan of Jack Layton from the time he was elected NDP leader in early 2003, until he was elected to Parliament in June 2004. After that he moved in a much more moderate direction such that I, as a marxist, never thought I would get caught up in anything resembling Jack-O-Mania. Utnil it happened, that is. Because for all his shortcomings, all the moderation leading the NDP closer to the centre than ever, Jack still genuinely believed in better outcomes for average Canadians, even as the policies he favoured move further away from those that could actually produce better outcomes for all people in society on a permanent basis.

Jack Layton did come off as "phony" a lot of the time during his first years in Ottawa, appearing to grab airtime for the sake of shameless self-promotion. Eventually though, people came to the realization that Jack is not a phony, that he really is that kind of person, and that he's always been that kind of person. That he's always lived and breathed politics 24 hours a day, and that his and Olivia's house was a place where freinds and accquaintances could stop by unannounced to talk politics for a while. And his wonderful letter to Canadians makes clear that even in his dying days, as Cancer ravaged his body, he remained this kind of person.

Anonymouse
ScotianGuy1981

The Jack Layton brand was strong in federal elections. He was a man that believed in his convictions and advocated for them. He was a wonderful, honest and thoughtful man. He loved to use humour in his speeches. 

The classy move by Mr. Harper to give Layton a state funeral and recognizing what Layton did for Canadians. 

 

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Harper undermined his own "classy move" by trying to use Layton's death as a means to promote the NATO bombing campaign and war crimes in Libya. At least, that's what some babblers remarked as, personally, I cannot stomach listening to the PM without inducing a gag reflex.

ottawaobserver

I can separate those things out. Harper offered a state funeral, and Olivia accepted. It was beautiful to queue up on the Hill today with lots of people from all walks of life, and his casket was so carefully guarded by the security staff, and the young parliamentary tour guides did such a great job helping everyone along, answering questions, and finding the folks in wheelchairs to get them a ride up to the front of the line. Stephen Harper offered all this, and I say thank you. There's plenty enough to disagree with him about, but not this. It was lovely, and I'm glad I went.

Vansterdam Kid

I haven't posted anything related to Jack's death yet. But the thing that really caught me was something I didn't even appreciate when he was alive. Just how great of a guy he was. I'm usually pretty stoic, was the picture of Olivia standing by his coffin alone really crystallized how harsh his death is. So, though I've never met Jack, I think it's the stories from people who have who that have highlighted how much he's touched their life. That sort of memory isn't possible to replicate. I posted something relatively innocuous on my facebook about how this was shocking and sad, though it created quite a few comments/likes, which surprised me since I'm not too active. I've had people who didn't even like him ideologically and politically comment on how much they liked him as a person. Reading people who have actually met him and seeing their reactions just re-enforces how great of a person he was. I don't really have anything particularly interesting or profound to say because I have little experience with death thus far in my life. Nonetheless thanks Jack for all that you've done, for who you were and for your inspiring story... I was almost willing to completely tune out of politics other than throw a vote to your party, but your optimism and eloquence have ensured that as a relatively informed citizen I really shouldn't do that.

Sean in Ottawa

I too was struck by the pictures of Olivia.

When I went she was gone-- I went to the Hill after work. There were no MPs that I could see just a line of Canadians snaking from the front of the building across to the East block then across the front of the east block and then all the way to the back of the building.

Another image was from the night of the vigil-- it was of an RCMP officer in uniform-- with tears coming down his face. I have never seen a police officer cry in uniform.

At the end of the line was the long row of books to sign with reminders only to sign one, a slow walk down a hall with portraits of PMs staring down and finally the casket itself. Then once we left-- obviously deeply affected--  the look on our face was acknowledged by a nod of the staff. Those staff members were obviously visibly affected themselves.

Out in the front we went down to the fence where all the messages, flowers and mementos were being laid and saw how much it had grown from Monday. And now there were chalk messages all along the sidewalk-- they may have begun on Monday but it was too crowded that day to see that.

JeffWells

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Another image was from the night of the vigil-- it was of an RCMP officer in uniform-- with tears coming down his face. I have never seen a police officer cry in uniform.

 

Sean, would you have a link for that? It sounds like a remarkable image.

It was shattering watching Peter Tabuns on Monday afternoon, reading Jack's letter outside city hall.

http://www.nowtoronto.com/daily/news/story.cfm?content=182319

Sean in Ottawa

Sorry Jeff, I had no camera. and the image was recorded only in my brain. Another officer who was there we spoke to and he was exceedingly gentle and kind in answering our question. Since the police officers were standing close together I glanced over and saw the tears on the face of the other one.

We should remember that these are the people who knew Jack Layton as well-- the hill duty RCMP and the parliamentary staff. They would be expected to react this way.

 

Mr.Tea

I was flipping through the TV channels yesterday and came by Sun News and there was Michael Coren, quite a right wing guy, talking about Jack. He was saying how years earlier, when the same sex marriage debate was at its peak, he and Jack had a public debate in Toronto and it got quite heated with audience members on different sides screaming at each other. But when it was over, He and Jack shook hands and went out for a beer. He also talked about how when he was preparing to publish his newest book (a conservative take on Catholicism), Jack called him up and offered to write a blurb for the dust jacket. Coren had aproached other people on the left who he knew better than Jack and been refused by many who said that while they liked him and respected his writing, they couldn't publically associate themselves with a book like that. Jack simply said "You're  a good guy, it's a good book, I don't agree with everything but it gets people thinking and talking". 

I think that really shows the kind of guy Jack was. Passionate about what he believed but always in a civil and constructive way. And fighting for causes and ideas not just attacking people he disagreed with.

Stockholm

One of my favourite personal anecdotes about Jack was from sharing a taxi with him from the airport a few years ago (after he was leader of the NDP though). After talking about politics, somehow we started talking about food and where to buy groceries and he suddenly got very animated in telling me about one fruit and vegetable store in Kensington Market that sold over a dozen different types of bananas! He was so visibly excited about the idea that in an era where factory farming and biotechnology has killed off so much biodiversity and we usually think that there is just one type of banana we could eat - here was one store that had TWELVE types of bananas - each a different shape and colour and taste and each had different uses for different recipes!

I don't know why i felt and urge to share that particular anecdote - but I just thought it was a nice example of how he wasn't just a politician, he was a man who loved life and could get so excited about the most seemingly mundane things - he was very much a "foodie" and a bon vivant as well - and that is a side of him that hasn't been reported on as much as his other sterling qualities.

Lachine Scot

Thanks for the banana anecdote, I like that one!

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

This image, by Jackman Chiu, of Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto. August 23, 2011 is iconic. One of the best things I have ever seen.

Courtesy of blogger Creekside:

 

http://creekside1.blogspot.com/2011/08/and-after-they-ran-out-of-room-on...

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Great anecdote, Stockholm. You left out a critical detail, though: where is this store and do they still stock twelve different kinds of bananas?

ETA: what a powerful photo, ll. What extraordinary breadth of influence that man had.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

His phaser was always set to ... fun.

Fidel

How many of the plutocracy's vicious, vicious toadies in power ever die untimely deaths like this? 

I wouldn't put it past the scumbags to have aided Jack's demise. They are capable of anything.

Hoodeet

Michelle wrote:

Sounds like a nice idea, Mr.Tea.  I see from the NDP website that the family has chosen the Broadbent Institute as the charity they'd like people to donate to in memorium.  So that might be a more suitable choice than cancer research.  Just a thought.

 /quote] Hoodeet (JW)

If there is going to be a fundraiser for cancer research please make sure you donate the proceeds directly to a research centre that is including research into environmental causes of cancer.  Bear in mind that many are constrained by corporate donors and don't look at the environment. 

Unionist

Québec solidaire co-spokespersons Françoise David and Amir Khadir returned home from Ottawa today after paying a last visit to Jack. Françoise blogged about it afterwards, concluding as follows (my translation):

Quote:

Sitting on my balcony, I see entire families having fun in our green street. A beautiful collective project. Tomorrow evening, we begin an important meeting of the QS leadership. We will adopt our plan of work for the year. Other struggles await us. And always, the hope of convincing people that we must favour equality over injustice, acceptance over intolerance, solidarity over individualism.

Thank you, Mr. Layton.

 

knownothing knownothing's picture

I play music at NDP events in Moose Jaw. After Jack was first elected leader he showed up at an event  and I was playing "In the Jailhouse Now" by Jimmie Rodgers and he came hopping in the bulding singing along. I wondered how sincere he was at the time or if he was just doing the politician thing, but with Jack it wasn't one or the other. He found a way to reveal his humanity and be a showman at the same time. The headline no one has been writing in the press this week is:

 

Why didn't we elect this guy Prime Minister?

 

But it has to be running through people's minds. I have been amazed by the response to people who aren't NDPers. The power of the MSM is sure something. It is working in our favour right now but boy is it scary.

edmundoconnor

laine lowe wrote:

This image, by Jackman Chiu, of Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto. August 23, 2011 is iconic. One of the best things I have ever seen.

Courtesy of blogger Creekside:

 

http://creekside1.blogspot.com/2011/08/and-after-they-ran-out-of-room-on...

If that is available as a poster, I would be more than happy to buy a copy (heck, several, to foist on to friends).

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

I would love to have a copy of this photo too, Ed. I guess you could request something through the photographer's account,

NDPP

ikosmos wrote:

Harper undermined his own "classy move" by trying to use Layton's death as a means to promote the NATO bombing campaign and war crimes in Libya.

NDPP

lest we forget..

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/SciTech/20040530/ndp_nato_040529

David Young

I first met Jack Layton here in Lunenburg, N.S., when he was campaigning to become NDP leader in early 2003.

He impressed me right away with his sincerity, his vision of a better country, and the ability to chat with anyone and make them feel comfortable.  I knew he was the right choice to become NDP leader, and I worked very hard in the following 4 elections to turn the NDP from a perpetual third- (fourth!) place Party here in the South Shore, to become the clear alternative to the Conservatives.

And while I'm here....

I've seen clips on TV where people are making up T-Shirts with Jack's final message of hope.

Does anyone have a link where people can order one on-line?

 

CRY NOT BECAUSE HE HAS GONE...BUT SMILE BECAUSE HE WAS HERE!

 

knownothing knownothing's picture

Ian Capstick on Power and Politics yesterday called Ezra Levant and Blatchford "sick" and "disgusting". He said it was time the left hit back.

 

Well I have this for you Ian:

Did you not read a word of what your supposed mentor said? Love not anger

How about the personal attacks? How has that helped anyone?

You have just proven that you are not ready to be a spokesperson for the NDP.

And besides, if the left is going to hit back, is Capstick really the "left"?

 

Stockholm

Catchfire wrote:

Great anecdote, Stockholm. You left out a critical detail, though: where is this store and do they still stock twelve different kinds of bananas?

Good question. To be perfectly honest I have never liked bananas so i didn't ask!

Bookish Agrarian

Stockholm wrote:

One of my favourite personal anecdotes about Jack was from sharing a taxi with him from the airport a few years ago (after he was leader of the NDP though). After talking about politics, somehow we started talking about food and where to buy groceries and he suddenly got very animated in telling me about one fruit and vegetable store in Kensington Market that sold over a dozen different types of bananas! He was so visibly excited about the idea that in an era where factory farming and biotechnology has killed off so much biodiversity and we usually think that there is just one type of banana we could eat - here was one store that had TWELVE types of bananas - each a different shape and colour and taste and each had different uses for different recipes!

I don't know why i felt and urge to share that particular anecdote - but I just thought it was a nice example of how he wasn't just a politician, he was a man who loved life and could get so excited about the most seemingly mundane things - he was very much a "foodie" and a bon vivant as well - and that is a side of him that hasn't been reported on as much as his other sterling qualities.

Thanks Stockholm.  This was a side of Jack I knew too, and was the way I actually first spoke with him personally.  Jack was in love with life as much as anything else.  That love displayed itself in a number of ways, but one way was in his enthusiasm for food and food issues.   And of course the politics of food was a natural outcome of that like anything else that engaged him.   Jack was often seen as urban-focused, but the reality was quite different.   His was a vision that was much bigger than that.

I once gave him a simple farmers ball cap.  You would think I had given him some sort of fancy, big gift his delight was so obvious.   I later saw him in pictures at various events that were outside and sunny with this hat on his head.  I am sure he wore it in part so that people would ask him about it and then he would have an opportunity to tell them about the problems of family farmers and how they could do something about it. 

Jack's laugh was always just below the surface.  If I learned any lessons from this remarkable man's life - it is that- no matter how serious the issue- it is our shared humanity that makes it important and that part of our humanity is taking our jobs seriously, but to do it with a sense of fun and good humour.

Aristotleded24

I was on the road when I heard about Layton's death. Sympathies to Olivia, Mike, and Sarah, and especially sadness for little Beatrice, who will not know her grandfather.

In terms of a musical send-off, I can think of no song that more aptly describes Canada's relationship with Layton than [url=http://www.cowboylyrics.com/lyrics/diamond-rio/youre-gone-3273.html]Diamond Rio's You're Gone:[/url]

Quote:
I said hello I think I'm broken
And though I was only jokin'
It took me by surprise when you agreed
I was tryin' to be clever
For the life of me I never
Would have guessed how far the simple truth would lead
You knew all my lines
You knew all my tricks
You knew how to heal that pain
No medicine can fix

And I bless the day I met you
And I thank God that He let you
Lay beside me for a moment that lives on
And the good news is I'm better
For the time we spent together
And the bad news is you're gone

Lookin' back it's still surprisin'
I was sinking you were rising
With a look you caught me in mid-air
Now I know God has His reasons
But sometimes it's hard to see them
When I awake and find that you're not there
You found hope in hopeless
Your made crazy sane
You became the missing link
That helped me break my chains

And I bless the day I met you
And I thank God that He let you
Lay beside me for a moment that lives on
And the good news is I'm better
For the time we spent together
And the bad news is you're gone
The bad news is you're gone

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3NjhpCPuCE]Here is the song itself[/url]

ilha formosa

David Young wrote:

CRY NOT BECAUSE HE HAS GONE...BUT SMILE BECAUSE HE WAS HERE!

And smile for the goodness he has inspired in his 61 short years. By all means let the tears out. Then take his last words to heart, live by them. Through his letter he continues to give.

Aristotleded24

[url=http://enmasse.ca/?p=167]My thoughts on Jack Layton's legacy:[/url]

Quote:
Like many Canadians, I was horrified to hear the news that federal NDP leader Jack Layton had passed away from cancer on the morning of August 22nd. As the outpouring of emotion continues throughout the week, and his absence begins to sink in, I found myself thinking about the amazing legacy he left Canada, and how things changed in his 8 year stint as leader of the federal NDP.

His accomplishment is remarkable considering the shape the NDP was in during the early 2000s. Barely at official party status, it was marginalized by being the fourth party, and between the larger narratives of the Liberal-Reform/Alliance horse race, or the horse race between the Liberals and the Bloc in Quebec. Nobody gave the NDP much chance. In the summer of 2002 Layton, then a Toronto city councilor without much of a national profile, jumped into the race to replace Alexa McDonnough. Not having a seat in the House of Commons would prove to be an asset, as being on the outside allowed him to mobilize support and bring in the people who would lay the groundwork for big change at a time when the party craved fresh energy and ideas.

Layton's hard work would pay off, as he won convincingly on the first ballot, despite not having a seat and Bill Blaikie having overwhelming support from the Caucus. And even though the NDP would remain small numerically, Layton was able to force the spotlight onto the NDP, first when the Liberals were predicted to win big under Paul Martin, then later on as the dynamic moved towards a Liberal-Conservative polarization federally, and his breakthrough in Quebec.

How did Layton pull this off? He put the tired cliché of "doing politics differently" into practice. He focused on the core issues that Canadians constantly tell opinion pollsters are important to them, but never implemented federally, bringing the "results oriented" approach to the federal scene, and to work with other parties to push forward the agenda, as is done at the civic level where formal partisan arrangements are often absent. When Harper and Ignatieff were asking for majority governments in the 2011 election, Layton knew that an NDP majority was not in the cards, was fine with that, and said so, and this earned him respect.

I argue that the seeds for the Orange Crush phenomenon were planted on April 21, 2005. The Sponsorship Scandal had engulfed Parliament Hill and was threatening the Paul Martin minority government. Martin took to the public airwaves to plead his case, and all the opposition leaders demanded responses. While Martin, Duceppe, and Harper all focused on the scandal, Layton touched on it but lamented that Parliamentarians were not working on the serious issues facing the country, and calling out the other parties for digging in their heels in their partisan trenches. I remember my respect and admiration for Layton going up, and Canadians were relieved by this breath of fresh air. Layton would go on to extract concessions from Liberal and Conservative governments. When the intransigence of the Harper government reached a head following the 2008 election, he played a key role in the coalition negotiations that proved unsuccessful at removing Harper. The inclusion of the Bloc showed Quebeckers that the federal Parliament was capable of putting their social democratic values into action, and that they could be part of the federal system to make that happen.

The road forward was a long, difficult slog, but Layton was very patient and committed. He pushed forward in the face of great odds, even when it didn't apparently make sense at the time and the NDP remained stuck at the 15-20% range in the polls. His first test was how he would respond to not having a seat in the House of Commons. Rather than muscle aside an incumbent in a safe seat, he followed through on his commitment to his home community by waiting for the general election to run in his home seat. As this was held by Dennis Mills of the Liberals, there was a great risk, but he won in 2004, and was able to put a positive spin on a campaign that hadn't netted as many seats as he had hoped. He was ridiculed for opening the 2008 campaign by asking Canadians to elect him Prime Minister, but came out of that election with MPs in 8 provinces, effectively cementing the NDP as a national party. Locally, I appreciate that this commitment took him to the staunchly Conservative rural Manitoba riding of Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette in the November 2010 round of by-elections. It never made a dent in the Conservative vote, but did vault the NDP as the clear alternatives to the Conservatives in that riding, and I can only hope that these efforts will bear fruit somewhere down the road.

Above all else, he reminded us of [url=http://enmasse.ca/?p=114]what was important,[/url] and [url=http://enmasse.ca/?p=160]taught us to dream,[/url] and encouraged us to [url=http://enmasse.ca/?p=70]break old habits.[/url]. I can think of no better summary for Layton's legacy than his own words which concluded his final press conference:

"If I have tried to bring anything to federal politics, it is the idea that hope and optimism should be at their heart. We CAN look after each other better than we do today. We CAN have a fiscally responsible government. We CAN have a strong economy; greater equality; a clean environment. We CAN be a force for peace in the world."

Yes Jack, you did. Thank you. Rest in peace.

Sine Ziegler

Love this thread. So many great stories. Thank you.

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

At some point in the last few days, I've seen a link to a CBC website with the entire funeral broadcast on it.  Since then, I can't find that to save my life.  Anyone have a quick link?

ottawaobserver
Bacchus

Lou Arab wrote:

At some point in the last few days, I've seen a link to a CBC website with the entire funeral broadcast on it.  Since then, I can't find that to save my life.  Anyone have a quick link?

 

Oddly enough I can download the whole thing from one of my boards. Which usually just have movies and tv episodes on it

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