The Internet is full, at the moment, with news of Jack Layton, leader of the NDP, and his death from cancer. I thought I'd take a moment from my lack of meaningful content to ruminate on what he's meant to me as a Canadian, an NDPer, and a person.
I still remember the 2003 NDP election where he took over the party from Alexis McDonough. I'll admit, for the longest time, I had a slight aversion to him. He was still the leader of "my team," so he had a certain level of support as a given, but a lot of his actions at the time seemed overly flashy, and downright embarrassing. He seemed more interested in showboating, to me. But over time, I came recognize that the showboating was more showmanship, and that there was a statesman under it, and a man who had a lot of deeply ingrained beliefs--many of which I shared.
I don't know what his death will mean to the future of the NDP. It's clearly a blow to it, as it is a blow to all of Canada when someone who has been a part of the debate on our future for so long passes. I hope the party will be able to take what he's taught and what he's created and build on it. Time will tell, I guess.
On a personal level, his death reminded me of my own parents. My father is the same age as Layton (celebrated his birthday last week, in fact), and I can't imagine what I'd do without either of my parents. While I haven't depended on them financially for a while, emotionally and spiritually, they're still big pillars in my personal foundation. I'm really lucky to have them in my life.
No catchy endphrase. Just take a moment and appreciate your home country and family today.