Monday, August 22, 2011


Canadians were largely shocked and saddened to learn this morning that Jack Layton had died. Layton, the Leader of Canada's social democratic party (called the" New Democratic Party," or NDP) was 61. He died of cancer, after a long and effective career as one of Canada's elected leaders.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (one of Canada's national television and radio networks) had a story early this morning, which has been circulating across the country and around the world.

Layton left behind a Letter of Thanks to Canadians, which was released later this morning.

(For those of you not familiar with the British/Canadian parliamentary system, our Parliament is the same as the US Congress, Our House of Commons is like the US House or Representatives, and Layton (as Leader of  Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in the Commons) would be like the Minority Leader in the US House of Representatives.

For me, Layton's death is on a par with the deaths of the Kennedy brothers, John and Bobby. Also the death of Lady Diana Spencer (ex-wife of Prince Charles). The Spirit of Canada is smaller today because Jack Layton has died

Here is a video recording of Layton at his finest, here in "River City." Truly, a man of the people.

An informal gathering will be held here in a few days. That had already been arranged by mid morning. Timing of the gathering will, I suspect, depend a bit on when Layton's funeral is held.

Outside Layton's constituency (as in "district") office in an older residential area of Toronto, a bouquet of flowers is growing by the hours. On the sidewalk, written in chalk, a simple, "Thanks, Jack."


Karen Jones Gowen said...

I am completely ignorant of Canadian politics. Well, to tell the truth, I'm ignorant of US politics as well hehe. Sorry for the loss of what sounds like a great leader. There are too few of them as it is.

Kristy said...

It is a very sad day and he will be deeply missed.

ReformingGeek said...

How sad. 61 is so young. I used to think 61 was old. Ha! Things change.


ain't for city gals said...

Sorry for this death...what I know is very little about him but he sounds like he had the cause of the common man...61 is very young. I hope your knee is better...and they figure out why it happened

Rosaria Williams said...

Sad news! Good politicians are rare and should be admired and respected.
As I'm reading the message he left, courtesy of Better is Possible in the comments section, I smile! Yes, he's a man of heart.

The Bipolar Diva said...

That is very sad indeed. 61? so young.

Craig said...

I'm aware of him and you're quite right, it is a sad loss.

cheshire wife said...

I am not very well up on Canadian politics but for anyone to die so young is very sad.

Rob-bear said...

Thank you so much, friends, for sharing your thoughts and sympathies. I appreciate them very much.

Mr. Layton is to receive a full "state funeral" on Saturday in Toronto, a recognition of his significance in our country. The Prime Minister made that offer yesterday morning, and accepted by Mr. Layton's family. I'm certain there will be a large gathering at the service.

There were candle-light vigils and other public events in communities all across our nation last night in Mr. Layton's honour. I wasn't able to get to the one here. Many of my friends knew Mr. Layton very well and had worked very closely with him.

About Last Weekend said...

I think that "Thanks Jack' says it all. A worker and a good man, not a career politician. Wish we had more of him in the US.

Rob-bear said...

® ALW: Thanks Jody. I wish we had more like him in Canada, too!

That Janie Girl said...


Canada will miss him.

Marion said...

You were able to write about this on Monday...well done! I couldn't write about him till yesterday. There was just too much emotion!

Those last words in his letter will be remembered for a long time, I hope. What an awesome man he was...all the way back to his youth.

Thanks so much for letting others know how much he was loved.

Lydia said...

Thank you for this wonderful post about Jack Layton. I simply did not know much about the man until you brought him to my attention at the time of his sad parting. I followed the link and read his farewell letter to Canadians. It is one of the most beautiful things a politician has ever written. Then I watch the video there at that site and saw his political life grow before my eyes. He was kind, and dashing. I can tell he was highly intelligent, although I know nothing about his schooling. He sure had wit, and he sure had guts. I am feeling just terribly sad that he lost his fight against prostate cancer and at such an early age. My condolences to you an all who revered him.

Rob-bear said...

® that Janie Girl: Thanks. We will most certainly miss him.

® Marion: Thanks for the very thoughtful observations you shared on your blog. He was an amazing man right to the end, which came way too soon.

® Lydia: Thanks for the condolences and kind words. He came from a political family, and spent all kinds of years in various public offices. He left his mark on everything he did. I think he will be impossible to replace.