Remembering the leader’s life
It has been nearly two weeks since Jack Layton passed away from cancer at the young age of 61, robbing Canada of arguably its most dynamic politician.
The shock of his sudden passing is beginning to wear off but his memory still burns strong, allowing one to look back at the life of a great Canadian.
The truism that Canada is a diverse nation is well known. Our diversity does not only apply to the Canadian people, but the land that houses us. To harness such difference into one national identity is difficult; to speak to the many sections of the country at once is borderline impossible.
Layton’s ability to speak to the entire country at once was what made him such a special Canadian. The NDP captured at least 14 per cent of the vote in each and every province and territory under his leadership.
He did it not by pandering to different regions and their interests, but by embodying those characteristics ascribed to the country: courage and determination, passion and kindness.
Layton and his trademark cane brought barmaids, collegians, karate teachers and chiropractors into the House of Commons.
Every time he dominated a debate, he dragged his party into the forefront.
Layton was the type of man who would inspire, but not overawe. He was an everyday guy who friends and loved ones say would sit down with you for a couple of beers and watch hockey just as easily as convince you to follow him on his journey through Canada’s political landscape.
That is precisely what makes his loss hurt for so many Canadians, whether left or right wing. Regardless of politics, Layton gained respect for doing what nobody had done before.