It's unusual for me to express my political beliefs on this blog . I believe that those are best expressed in the voting booth at election time . This is the exception because of the death of Jack Layton
, leader of the NDP
( New Democratic Party) and leader of the official opposition , who lost his battle with cancer today .
As a federalist in Quebec , it's been a struggle to vote , to find a politician who best represented my belief in a strong and united Canada . For more than a decade my MP was a member of the Bloc Quebecois which believes in Quebec becoming a sovereign nation . That changed with the spring election in which the 'orange crush ' , referring to the NDP colours , hit Quebec and to a lesser extent other parts of Canada . The surge of the NDP can largely be attributed to the popularity of Jack Layton as a politician . With his leadership the NDP won 59 of 75 seats in the province and more or less demolished the Bloc Quebecois as a party . I'm not so naive as to believe that the sovereignty movement is dead in this province ,but I had hoped that with NDP having more of a voice in Ottawa , as opposed to a being a peripheral party , and representing what I think are the core values and hopes of Canadians we might put that notion to rest once and for all .
In Quebec Jack Layton won over voters in record numbers because he spoke to the concerns of everyday people in tough economic times . He talked about health care , education , jobs ,the environment , poverty and improving the lives of those less fortunate .He showed courage in his personal battle with cancer and optimism for the future . Never giving up and always with a smile and words of encouragement for those who faced similar battles . He touched many of us with his honesty and talked of working together for a better future and a better Canada.
I think he was a good man , no doubt with flaws , but Canada lost someone who really could have moved us forward to that better future . I'm so very sad to think that he won't be here to enjoy the success that his party achieved with his leadership . In his own words from letter released by his family today ....
"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 ."
Jack Layton 1950 -2011