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Jack Layton 1950-2011 R.I.P.

Irishmonk

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R.I.P. Jack

Not sure if this thread already exists elsewhere.

This is truly a tragic day for Canada as a burgeoning, uniting and inspiring figure is cut down in his prime, so soon after his greatest triumph and before his final act could be fully experienced and completed. I feel a terrible melancholy for what we've lost and what has been denied it's full, magnificent bloom. R.I.P, Jack. Condolences to Olivia and family.
 
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Marko

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I rarely agreed with him, but had a lot of respect for Jack Layton. This country just lost a great voice that may take decades to replace.

Rest in peace, Jack Layton, and sincere condolences to his family.

Maybe change the thread title to more accurately share the news?
 

interchange42

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Jack Layton has died after his second bout with cancer.

He prepared this letter to Canadians:

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

A few additional thoughts:

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don't be discouraged that my own journey hasn't gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

To the members of my party: we've done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let's continue to move forward. Let's demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election. 2
To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada's Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

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.

All my very best,
Jack Layton
 

Herman_muntz

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Jack Layton knew he had a tought fight ahead of him in July 26...He left a good message for us.

"Let me conclude by saying this.
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.
I am as hopeful and optimistic about all of this as I was the day I began my political work, many years ago.
I am hopeful and optimistic about the personal battle that lies before me in the weeks to come.
And I am very hopeful and optimistic that our party will continue to move forward.
We WILL replace the Conservative government, a few short years from now.
And we WILL work with Canadians to build the country of our hopes
Of our dreams
Of our optimism
Of our determination
Of our values...
Of our love.
Thank you."

Jack Layton
 

dt_toronto_geek

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For the first time in my life I voted NDP in the last Federal election, I caught "Orange Fever" and had full confidence in Jack and the NDP Party. Layton loved Canada, and Toronto. He was compassionate, very politically savvy, a ferocious fighter, a champion for social justice, charismatic and an inspirational figure. In my view (and some will disagree) he was one of the great Canadian politicians in his relatively short career and in time, he will be well remembered as such. I've seen enough friends and family go from cancer. When I saw him at his press conference in July I had a really bad feeling about his future, but I never would have expected that he wouldn't live to lead the official opposition in September for at least a short period of time.
A very sad day and a great loss to Canada.
 

khris

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For the first time in my life I voted NDP in the last Federal election, I caught "Orange Fever" and had full confidence in Jack and the NDP Party. Layton loved Canada, and Toronto. He was compassionate, very politically savvy, a ferocious fighter, a champion for social justice, charismatic and an inspirational figure. In my view (and some will disagree) he was one of the great Canadian politicians in his relatively short career and in time, he will be well remembered as such. I've seen enough friends and family go from cancer. When I saw him at his press conference in July I had a really bad feeling about his future, but I never would have expected that he wouldn't live to lead the official opposition in September for at least a short period of time.
A very sad day and a great loss to Canada.

I also voted NDP for the first time. His passion is what really made me feel good about him and his party. I also thought he didn't look too good at his press conference, and was worried then.
I am really sad to hear this news today. We have lost a truly amazing Canadian, and he will be missed.
 

klb86

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For the first time in my life I voted NDP in the last Federal election, I caught "Orange Fever" and had full confidence in Jack and the NDP Party. Layton loved Canada, and Toronto. He was compassionate, very politically savvy, a ferocious fighter, a champion for social justice, charismatic and an inspirational figure. In my view (and some will disagree) he was one of the great Canadian politicians in his relatively short career and in time, he will be well remembered as such. I've seen enough friends and family go from cancer. When I saw him at his press conference in July I had a really bad feeling about his future, but I never would have expected that he wouldn't live to lead the official opposition in September for at least a short period of time.
A very sad day and a great loss to Canada.

I also voted NDP for the first time during the last federal election, mainly because of Jack. He was definitely one of the good guys. RIP Jack.
 

nfitz

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Quite disturbing news. A great loss for Toronto, and a loss for Canada. I can't say I've ever supported the NDP before federally (or even provincially since the 1980s) ... but I still feel very saddened by this.
 
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I don't agree with anything the NDP stands for, but I did admire Jack's tenacity. He seemed like a genuinely kind, extroverted man. It's unfortunate that he lost his life under such painful circumstances. I honestly think his death is going to hurt the NDP, not help it. It was he who got them this far. They're going to be hard pressed to find a new leader with the same likability and trust as Jack. May his family seek comfort in the memories they shared as well as the support they'll receive from people across this great country.
 

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Thanks 42 for printing the letter and renaming the title. Yours really should be the OP; mine was done in haste but I just figured someone should get it started.

I disagreed with a few of his core beliefs and some of his political moves but I'll save that for another day. The letter itself shows Jack's dignity, class and courage even when facing imminent death.

There are really only 2 other Canadians I can recall whose passing actually created in me the kind of melancholy and sorrow that I feel now, and they were Terry Fox and Glenn Gould. In all cases their legacy felt needlessly cut short, like we didn't get to see their full story. (There may be others I can't think of right now but those 2 stand out.)
 

Electrify

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A few decades ago, my grandfather ran for alderman in North York and Jack helped him out on his campaign. A few years back my younger brother was active in NDP politics and was fortunate enough to not only meet Jack, but share some drinks with him. I used to go to Centennial's East York campus, and walked by his campaign office on Pape. Saw him through the window and waved, he waved back :) .

He was an admirable human being, who got into politics for the right reason of wanting to help others and to make Canada a better place to live. To top it off, he brought a kind of rock star energy his work - a good rock star who loves his fans and is confident but not full of himself. If I ever get into politics, I could only dream of being half the person Jack was.

Like many, I was looking forward to seeing him shine as leader of the official opposition. 61 is just too damn young, RIP Smiling Jack.
 

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