A leader even in the face of death
Today Canada lays to rest a man who despite never being Prime Minister managed to move a nation.
A politician who is being compared to the late Pierre Elliot Trudeau in his idealism and leadership. Yes, Canada is certainly the poorer for the loss of Jack Layton. On his deathbed he wrote a letter to Canadians and the words he shared resonated with people far and wide regardless of their political stripe. He appealed for a better Canada. He appealed for each of us to do our part.
“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.”
This quote has run rampant through the social media world, people’s Facebook profiles alight with orange as they showed their support by posting the quote on the NDP party colour background. Jack we are listening.
I was at NDP headquarters during the evening of the first federal election after he was made leader of the NDP party. The energy in the air was palpable. Change was happening.
I spoke with his wife Olivia Chow, frequently when I was the writer for the Annex Guardian. I practically had her on speed dial. So today I have Olivia in my heart as she faces what is certainly one of the most difficult next few hours of her life. Her partner in love, life and politics is laid to rest, leaving an impossible-to-fill gap in her life and a chasm in the political landscape of Canada. Olivia, we mourn with you.
As a couple, they lived and breathed the values they espoused.
Their home is a shining example of green energy. They rode their bikes around their neighbourhood. They lived with Olivia’s mom who immigrated from China. They gave so freely and openly of themselves to make, first their communities, and then their country, a better place to live. They showed us that the best way to lead, was by example.
Jack had a dream– a dream for a better Canada. And he fought for that dream until the bitter end. To everyone who has ever had a dream, to make a difference, please heed the words of this dedicated Canadian now.
“Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.”
To everyone who has had a dream, who wants to make the world a better place, don’t delay. Learn from Jack, live now. None of us now how long we have to be the change we want to see in the world.