Canadian Opposition Leader - LGBT ally Jack Layton, dies at 61

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    Aug 22, 2011 6:24 PM GMT
    Sad news for the gay community in Canada.


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    Jack Layton, Canada's legendary progressive and the current head of the opposition New Democrat Party, has died of prostate cancer at the age of 61. An ardent friend of the LGBT community, Layton was a vigorous supporter of HIV/AIDS activism in the early years of the pandemic. In 2005, Layton was credited by many for the success of Canada's national same-sex marriage bill when he was the only party leader to whip for supporting votes.
    The New Democrat party issued a statement saying Layton died peacefully Monday morning at his Toronto home, surrounded by family and loved ones. Only weeks ago, a gaunt Layton held a news conference to announce he was fighting a second bout of cancer. Layton’s party scored its historic win by garnering 103 seats in the May federal election, up from a previous 37. The spring campaign started out looking like a straight battle between Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Liberals’ Michael Ignatieff, with Layton recovering from prostate cancer and a broken hip. Layton carried a cane and hobbled throughout the campaign, and his health seemed to improve as it progressed. His cheerful, upbeat message, his strong performance in the debates and his popularity in the French-speaking province of Quebec, went over well with voters.

    Layton leaves a wife, Olivia Chow, and two children.

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    Aug 22, 2011 6:25 PM GMT
    I am proud to have worked on what was the final campaign under his leadership and feel this loss very palpably. I have been deeply emotionally invested in the NDP all my life, and Jack Layton has been a shining example of the social equality movement, practising always what he preached and never compromising his principles for the sake of political expediency or comfort.
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    Aug 22, 2011 6:27 PM GMT
    Share condolences to the Layton family here:


    http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2011/08/share-your-condolences-for-jack-laytons-family.html
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    Aug 22, 2011 7:47 PM GMT

    We saw this early this morning on the news. A shock because he seemed to be doing so well!

    Thanks for posting this Upper_Canadian, and thanks for the link.
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    Aug 22, 2011 7:59 PM GMT
    His open letter is a good read too: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/08/22/pol-layton-last-letter.html

    "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".
  • hyperionx

    Posts: 232

    Aug 22, 2011 8:00 PM GMT
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    Aug 22, 2011 8:01 PM GMT
    I was very shocked and saddened when I saw the news this morning. This country lost a great man. His passion and integrity inspired my interest in politics. I've voted across the spectrum but have always had the most respect for Jack.

    It is sad he passed mere months after his greatest political victory but it's great he got to live it. Hopefully the NDP will not lose focus.

    RIP Jack.
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    Aug 22, 2011 8:17 PM GMT
    R.I.P. Jack, the most human politician I have ever seen. icon_sad.gif
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    Aug 22, 2011 8:22 PM GMT
    It is indeed a sad day for Canadians of all political persuasions. Mr. Layton was a man and a politician of passion, integrity and grace and there are far too few of his kind left in the world. He fought long and hard for the social values espoused by the old CCF party and re-shaped the newer NDP into a left-leaning party of immense strength and influence.
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    Aug 22, 2011 8:41 PM GMT
    Jack Layton's Final Letter To Canadians



    August 20, 2011

    Toronto, Ontario

    Dear Friends,

    Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

    Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

    I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

    I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

    A few additional thoughts:

    To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don't be discouraged that my own journey hasn't gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

    To the members of my party: we've done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let's continue to move forward. Let's demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

    To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

    To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada's Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

    To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

    And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world's environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don't let them tell you it can't be done.

    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.

    All my very best,

    Jack Layton

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    Aug 22, 2011 8:58 PM GMT
    Upper_Canadian saidJack Layton's Final Letter To Canadians



    August 20, 2011

    Toronto, Ontario

    Dear Friends,

    Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

    Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

    I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

    I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

    A few additional thoughts:

    To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don't be discouraged that my own journey hasn't gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

    To the members of my party: we've done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let's continue to move forward. Let's demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

    To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

    To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada's Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

    To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

    And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world's environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don't let them tell you it can't be done.

    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.

    All my very best,

    Jack Layton



    aw icon_sad.gif He really was a great man and he really did bring about a lot of good changes to our country. RIP, Mr. Layton.
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    Aug 22, 2011 8:59 PM GMT
    That's an amazing letter, thanks again.
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    Aug 22, 2011 9:31 PM GMT
    Condolences to Canadian progressives. I do hope that NDP remains independent of the Liberal Party. It does not bode will that recently the NDP appears to even be abandoning a pretty centrist social democracy. Without NDP maintaining a clear, pro-working class, left-wing stance, the Liberal will become as bad as the US Democratic Party, if not worse.
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    Aug 22, 2011 10:00 PM GMT
    RIP Jack Layton.
    A respectable man in every sense.
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    Aug 22, 2011 10:36 PM GMT
    The upside is that with the passage of time, his death will get funnier and funnier.

    He said: "All my life I have worked to make things better."

    When moral busybodies come around claiming such things, it's time to run.
  • red_series

    Posts: 136

    Aug 22, 2011 11:22 PM GMT
    He was a pretty fantastic man, that's for sure. There aren't too many people around that could do what he did. A sad day and big loss for his family and for Canada.
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    Aug 22, 2011 11:34 PM GMT
    RIP icon_cry.gif
  • creature

    Posts: 5197

    Aug 22, 2011 11:51 PM GMT
    I'm sorry for your country's loss.
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    Aug 23, 2011 12:29 AM GMT
    JackNWNJ saidThe upside is that with the passage of time, his death will get funnier and funnier.

    He said: "All my life I have worked to make things better."

    When moral busybodies come around claiming such things, it's time to run.


    That's cold. Seriously cold.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Aug 23, 2011 12:39 AM GMT
    Thanks for posting this on realjock. That letter was undescribably emotional. I'm glad that his death is being recognized somewhere online.
  • TrentGrad

    Posts: 1541

    Aug 23, 2011 1:03 AM GMT
    yourname2000 said
    JackNWNJ saidThe upside is that with the passage of time, his death will get funnier and funnier.

    He said: "All my life I have worked to make things better."

    When moral busybodies come around claiming such things, it's time to run.

    It's amazing....with every post you make on RJ, you prove your mind to be even more diminutive than your body. icon_neutral.gif

    You can lash out at all that is better than you in the world, Jack, but it only shows that you're well aware that you're weak and insignificant in comparison.

    Many Canadians are quite familiar with American politicians. With that in mind, it's not a slight when I say I can't think of a politician in recent American history who has been as impactful as Jack Layton was (nearly singularly) for Canadians. You wish you had a politician like him (or you should, regardless of your leanings ---he raised every politician's game in Canada.) Even though I wouldn't normally vote for his party, I certainly wish we had another leader like him waiting in the wings, but I don't think we do.


    Seriously...don't waste your time addressing that repulsive troll!!!

    I can't say I'm surprised by this...back in July when he made his public appearence, Jack Layton looked so gaunt and had lost so much weight so fast.

    RIP Jack Layton...you are one of a kind...and we won't forget you!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 23, 2011 1:06 AM GMT
    JackNWNJ saidThe upside is that with the passage of time, his death will get funnier and funnier.

    He said: "All my life I have worked to make things better."

    When moral busybodies come around claiming such things, it's time to run.


    you are a feeble man!
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    Aug 23, 2011 1:10 AM GMT
    As a recent immigrant to Canada I can say that Jack Layton's political philosopy and activity influenced my opinion that Canada is indeed a great place to live and do business. His Life was both a beautiful decoration and a profound utility for Canada.
  • hyperionx

    Posts: 232

    Aug 23, 2011 1:19 AM GMT
    JackNWNJ saidThe upside is that with the passage of time, his death will get funnier and funnier.

    He said: "All my life I have worked to make things better."

    When moral busybodies come around claiming such things, it's time to run.


    Get lost you Jersey douchebag. You don't know what he did and who he was if you can make a comment like that about Jack Layton.
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    Aug 23, 2011 1:26 AM GMT
    hyperionx said
    JackNWNJ saidThe upside is that with the passage of time, his death will get funnier and funnier.

    He said: "All my life I have worked to make things better."

    When moral busybodies come around claiming such things, it's time to run.


    Get lost you Jersey douchebag. You don't know what he did and who he was if you can make a comment like that about Jack Layton.


    Hey, you can't talk to me like that, because all my life I have worked to make things better, just like Jack Layton.

    Since all my life I have worked to make things better, I am immune to and not subject to any criticism whatsoever. Just like Jack Layton.

    See? I'm awesome. Why? Because all my life I have worked to make things better. Just like Jack Layton.

    You are not to question my goodness or my motives. Just like Jack Layton.

    O, you can believe it. I'm just like Jack Layton.