Thursday, August 25, 2011


Jack Layton is receiving virtually royal treatment in death.

His body has being lying in state in the Centre block Parliament building in Ottawa. Tens of thousands of people have come to pay their respects, waiting in line for hours to do so. His wife, Olivia Chow, also a Member of Parliament, has been there, with their children and granddaughter. (She took a quiet detour to visit his parliamentary office while on the Hill.)

This afternoon, his body will be taken to Quebec. That is the province where he was born (son of a former federal Conservative cabinet minister) and where his party made its "breakthrough," making it the Official Opposition in the Commons.

From there, it will go this evening to Toronto. The city is his home; he served on its City Council for many years before moving to federal politics. His body will lie in state at Toronto's City Hall, until just before the state funeral, which will be held in the Roy Thompson Hall, Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. I believe it will be televised.

Jack Layton was a much beloved man. I always thought there was something so very different about him. He was not your average politician. He really loved people; he really cared, deeply about people. When he was on Toronto City Council, he often rode a bike around the city, so he could easily stop and talk to people. Yes, he was concerned about the environment, but people, and their lives, seemed his key interest. He is someone who will be hugely missed on the national scene.


cheshire wife said...

He must be well thought of. The only UK politician that I can remember having a state funeral was Winston Churchill.

Gutsy Living said...

I had not heard of him but it is nice to know he will be remembered to being a compassionate and caring man. Nice to know a politician who truly cared about his people.


That's the kind of man that is missing in the USA. There was an advertisement today for "FEED THE CHILDREN" donations. It was for American children. Now THAT is getting pretty low, and I'll bet the Prez would never believe there IS such a program....Plus,he'd find a way to tax the donations.

Frances said...

Rob Bear, thank you for letting those of us who might not otherwise have known of Jack Layton to have the opportunity to learn something of his many accomplishments.

Best wishes to you.

Craig said...

I was aware of him from newspaper articles and he seemed like a very decent human being who will be sadly lost. Why is it usually the good ones who go so soon?

About Last Weekend said...

How fascinating! I keep forgetting that, like New Zealand, Canada is part of the Commonwealth and we still have all these royal trappings and ceremonies, which in these circumstances are very gratifying and justified. Wonderful pieces about Jack Layton.

Just Two Chicks said...

I've never heard of him, but he sounds like he was a wonderful human being over all, and it's people like that, people we may have only met once, or perhaps never at all, whose loss we feel the most.

A person such as that would never have made it in American politics. We watch the mighty wonderful fall to the mighty terrible all the time.

I remember the loss of John Kerry's wife so well, simply because while she battled breast cancer, she also battled her husbands infidelity, and a baby born to his girlfriend.OUR wonderful politicians.

When I read about her death, I felt the loss her children must have felt... and sadness. She had only just been on TV giving an interview... how does this happen SO fast?

Your post is a wonderful tribute to Jack Layton...

Lydia said...

He must have been a great man. I have heard or seen ZIP about your losing him in our news. I suppose we can be forgiven, what with Irene bearing down and all...not much else is being reported.

I am sorry such a fine one has gone.

Posie said...

Rob, lovely to be back...I had not heard of the politician you are writing about, but how lovely that he his family have so much support from everyone at such a difficult time, he was obviously well loved and respected.

Rob-bear said...

Thanks, folks, for all your kind comments.

® cheshire wife: He was indeed well thought of. He will be very hard to replace on our political scene.
BTW, I've been reading some interesting bits on Cheshire in my book on the history of Wales.

® Gutsy Living: Wonderful to have someone like Jack. He died way too young.

® Beau's Mom: Feeding American children. Yes. I'm told that one child in five lives in real poverty in the US. Not much better here in Canada.

® Frances: Glad you liked learning a bit about Jack. Thanks.

® Craig: Glad you got to know a bit about Jack. And, yes; he died way too young.

® About Last Weekend: Yes, Jody; we are part of the commonwealth. Something I enjoy. Glad you appreciated learning a bit about him.

® Just Two Chicks: I'm glad you learned some things about Jack. He was a fine man.
As for the rest, are you not referring to John Edwards and his wife?

Rob-bear said...

® Lydia: Glad you had the chance to learn something about Jack.
I'm not surprised you've heard nothing about him. Canada normally doesn't register on the "radar screens" of the American media.

® Posie: Thanks, and great to see you back.
Giving him a full state funeral is virtually unprecedented in Canada.
He was, indeed, well loved and respected. By people of various political stripes.

Thanks, again, friends, for your kind comments.