As a progressive, I mourn the loss of a man who embodied quintessential Canadian values: social justice, free speech, multiculturalism, trust, decency and integrity.
Before he died, Jack Layton gave Canada two last gifts. His victory in Quebec has, one hopes, helped heal the rift between that beautiful province and English-speaking Canada. And just a couple of days ago, he wrote an open letter to Canadians of astounding power and beauty. It concludes like this:
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.Earlier today my own leader, Dr. David Swann, offered his thoughts on Layton's passing. They echo my own.
All my very best,
Today a stunned nation is coming to terms with the passing of a leader who died too soon. Jack Layton, Leader of the federal Official Opposition, is gone, mere months after having earned the title with the biggest NDP victory in history.
It seems unbearably cruel that Mr. Layton was denied the opportunity to lead his new Official Opposition caucus for more than a few months. As an Official Opposition Leader myself, I know how important it is for any province or nation to have a solid opposition to hold government accountable. I have no doubt that Jack would have been very effective in the role he earned in May.
Whatever his or her political affiliation, no Canadian can deny that Jack Layton lived to serve his country and his fellow citizens. His was a unique voice and a unique vision, and it was always clear that his primary motivation was the well-being of all Canadians. He tried to build a better country, and for that, we salute him.
On behalf of Alberta’s Official Opposition, I extend our sincere condolences to Mr. Layton’s loved ones and supporters.
You will be remembered, Jack. Thank you for your service to the nation.
Leader of the Official Opposition