This is not news to anyone in Canada. From everything I’ve read this week, I’m simply repeating the thoughts of countless others. There are times when we are reminded to step back and think about what’s really important and this has been one of those for me.
Jack Layton was the charismatic leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada. He led his party to a landmark victory in the last federal election after a lifetime of dedicated commitment to politics. In a world where political images are often tainted in one way or another, his message of hope and optimism crossed party lines. His seemingly boundless energy and warm smile telegraphed his deep love for his country and the role he played in it. He passed away this week at the age of 61. Although his battle with cancer was a known fact, his death still was a shock. Two days before his passing he penned a letter to his country with words we should all apply to life in general.
His extraordinary message is one of promise and a moving testament to the benefits in choosing love over anger, hope over fear, optimism rather than despair. It’s a global message – no matter what your politics, country or culture.
When he stepped aside a month ago for what everyone hoped would be a temporary break to battle his illness, he said: “If I’ve tried to bring anything to federal politics, it’s the idea that hope and optimism should be at their heart. We can look after each other better than we do today.”
A fitting epitaph for a fine man. A role model for all politicians. A message for everyone of us to take to heart every day.