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Thread: Canadian Opposition Leader Jack Layton dead at 61

  1. #1
    Gold Member Catty's Avatar
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    Default Canadian Opposition Leader Jack Layton dead at 61

    Jack Layton lost his biggest battle early Monday morning, succumbing to cancer. He was 61.

    Surrounded by his wife, NDP MP Olivia Chow, other family members and friends, Mr. Layton died “peacefully at his home,” according to a statement issued by his wife and children Monday.

    Mr. Layton looked gaunt, his voice very weak, when he held a news conference last month in Toronto to announce he was suffering from a second cancer. He vowed, then, that he would be back to work when the House of Commons resumed on Sept. 19.

    He did not reveal what that cancer was. It is still not known.
    At that time, he asked his caucus to accept a rookie MP, Nycole Turmel, as interim leader. It is not clear now whether she will continue in that role or how a formal leadership transition will work.

    A popular politician – nicknamed Smiling Jack, for his charm and enthusiasm with life and politics – Mr. Layton orchestrated his party going from third place to Official Opposition status in the May 2 election.

    Although he had been fighting a prostate cancer diagnosis and a fractured hip, he appeared healthy during the campaign. In fact, the cane he used to support himself became a lightning rod as the party’s support grew and grew.

    The NDP victory in the election was based primarily on a huge breakthrough in Quebec and the collapse of the Bloc Québécois
    In an lengthy interview with The Globe and Mail the day before the government fell last March, Mr. Layton said that he was fine, did not know why his hip had fractured but said the cancer had not spread.
    He had led the NDP since 2003, and had just turned 61 on July 18.

    In a statement Monday, Governor-General David Johnston said of Mr. Layton: "He dedicated his life to serving his fellow citizens. He did this with so much grace. He will be missed.‬"

    Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae also offered condolences, saying he and his wife, Arlene, “are deeply saddened” by Mr. Layton’s death.
    “He was a friend of ours for many years, and despite our political differences his decency, good humour and extraordinary resilience earned our deep admiration,” Mr. Rae said. “We remained friends throughout our political lives.”

    Mr. Rae was once an NDP MP and served as NDP premier of Ontario.
    “On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our Parliamentary Caucus, I express our deep condolences to Olivia and Jack's family, as well as to his colleagues and friends in the New Democratic Party,” he said in his statement.” “He leaves a powerful legacy of a commitment to social justice in his work in Toronto as a city councillor and as a national leader.

    Mr. Rae ended his statement with this: “Peace and comfort to all. When David Lewis passed away Stanley Knowles ended his eulogy with the words 'shalom chaver, shalom.' Peace, brother, peace."

    Source: Opposition Leader Jack Layton dead at 61 - The Globe and Mail

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    I've read several kind things about him this morning elsewhere. Rest in peace.
    Life is short. Break the Rules. Forgive Quickly. Kiss Slowly. Love Truly.
    Laugh Uncontrollably. And never regret ANYTHING that makes you smile.

    - Mark Twain

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    This is incredibly sad. I really liked him. He brought the NDP to where it is today and I wonder how the party will fare without him.

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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Canadian politics just got a whole lot less sexy.
    "If you are not outraged, then you are not paying attention," Heather Heyer's facebook quote.

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    Silver Member Jana's Avatar
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    ^ LOL twitchy and very true..

    It is sad. May he rest in peace.

    Published on CP24 (http://www.cp24.com/servlet/an/local.../?hub=CP24Home), a letter to Canadians by Jack Layton:

    New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton speaks to reporters following a caucus meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, June 2, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

    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.
    2
    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
    Last edited by Jana; August 22nd, 2011 at 11:37 AM. Reason: Adding article

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    this is so sad. i don't know why i'm so upset about this but i am. i guess it's because he truly was the exception among politicians.

    and of course that evil bastard stephen harper is going to live forever.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member Rusalka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jana View Post
    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
    Words to live by RIP Jack, Canada will miss you. Regardless of your political leanings, you had to respect this man. Thoughts to his family.

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    Elite Member Sialia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twitchy2.0 View Post
    Canadian politics just got a whole lot less sexy.
    I feel bad for laughing but that was the first thing I thought when I heard the news this morning.

    We need some pics of Hot Jack, for posterity...



    My personal favourite:


    Joking aside, Canadian politics has lost a really decent man and a fine leader. RIP Jack.
    "We know who we are, we like talking smack about strangers, and we're not gonna stop!" -- GR's Kalirga

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I fear Canadian politics lost the last bulwark against total neocon hegemony.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    total neocon hegemony.
    so not sexy
    "If you are not outraged, then you are not paying attention," Heather Heyer's facebook quote.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    No.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member aabbcc's Avatar
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    Stop polluting the thread!

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    Elite Member whitetigeress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    I fear Canadian politics lost the last bulwark against total neocon hegemony.


    *nods*


    rip Layton

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    You should all read the bitchy cunt laced bitchery the right wing rag The National Post wrote.

    People spontaneously showed up at city hall to write farewell notes in chalk over the cement walkways and ramps that surround it today, it was quite moving. Of course, this cunt says it's a "spectacle".

    By the accounts of those who knew him best and loved him most, if there was a truly private side of Jack Layton, it was but a sliver of the man who happily lived virtually his entire adult life in the public eye and who was a 24/7 politician who was always on.

    Yes, his death at 61 was sad and too soon; yes, he made an enormous contribution to his party and a significant one to Canada (though I would quibble with NDP MP Libby Davies’ characterization that “He gave his life for this country”); yes, he fought a brave battle against cancer, as, mind you, does just about anyone who has it; and yes, he was a likeable, agreeable, smiley man.

    Yet what was truly singular about him was how consumed by politics he was and how publicly, yet comfortably, he lived.

    How fitting that his death should have been turned into such a thoroughly public spectacle, where from early morn Monday, television anchors donned their most funereal faces, producers dug out the heavy organ music, reporters who would never dream of addressing any other politician by first name only were proudly calling him “Jack” and even serious journalists like Evan Solomon of the CBC repeatedly spoke of the difficulty “as we all try to cope” with the news of Mr. Layton’s death.

    By mid-day, after Prime Minister Stephen Harper had offered a few warm words about Mr. Layton’s death and rued that their oft-talked-about jam session had never happened, Mr. Solomon even expressed sniping surprise that “Jack Layton wasn’t the sole focus” of the Prime Minister’s remarks.

    Mr. Harper, who clearly had not spent the day watching the national broadcaster and thus was unaware that the NDP Leader’s death was the only story of note, had gone on to mention the families of the 12 people (including six-year-old Cheyenne Eckalook; now there’s someone who died far too young) who perished in the Arctic plane crash on Saturday and the tumultuous events in Libya.

    The PM in fact was one of a very few voices of reason to be found on the airwaves — he remembered Mr. Layton kindly and with evident regard, but he had perspective and did not fawn.

    And what to make of that astonishing letter, widely hailed as Mr. Layton’s magnificent from-the-grave cri de coeur?

    It was extraordinary, though it is not Mr. Solomon’s repeated use of that word that makes it so.

    Rather, it’s remarkable because it shows what a canny, relentless, thoroughly ambitious fellow Mr. Layton was. Even on Saturday, two days before he died, he managed to keep a gimlet eye on all the campaigns to come.

    The letter is full of such sophistry as “We can restore our good name in the world,” as though it is a given Canada has somehow lost that, bumper-sticker slogans of the “love is better than anger” ilk and ruthlessly partisan politicking (“You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together with progressive-minded Canadians across the country,” he said in the section meant for Quebecers).

    The letter is vainglorious too.

    Who thinks to leave a 1,000-word missive meant for public consumption and released by his family and the party mid-day, happily just as Mr. Solomon and his fellows were in danger of running out of pap? Who seriously writes of himself, “All my life I have worked to make things better”?

    The letter was first presented as Mr. Layton’s last message to Canadians, as something written by him on his deathbed; only later was it more fully described as having been “crafted” with party president Brian Topp, Mr. Layton’s chief of staff Anne McGrath and his wife and fellow NDP MP Olivia Chow.

    Mr. Layton wrote it, as Mr. Topp told Mr. Solomon, “in his beautiful, energy-retrofitted house” in downtown Toronto. These people never stop.

    The reaction to his death — it was still shocking how fast it came, despite his cadaverous appearance in late July when he stepped down, temporarily it was hoped — was universally described as unique and of course, the day’s adjective, as extraordinary.

    Held out as evidence of Canadians’ great love for Mr. Layton were the makeshift memorials of flowers, notes that appeared at his Toronto constituency office and on Parliament Hill, and in condolences in social media.

    In truth, none of that is remotely unusual, or spontaneous, but rather the norm in the modern world, and it has been thus since Princess Diana died, the phenomenon now fed if not led online. People the planet over routinely weep for those they have never met and in some instances likely never much thought about before; what once would have been deemed mawkish is now considered perfectly appropriate.

    Certainly, Canadians liked Mr. Layton, but the public over-the-top nature of such events — by fans for lost celebrities they never met, by television personalities for those they interviewed once for 10 minutes, by the sad and lost for the dead — make it if not impossible then difficult to separate the mourning wheat from the mourning chaff. His loss — his specific loss and his specific accomplishments — are thus diminished.

    His greatest moments — the bravest and most admirable — came during his fight with prostate cancer, the subsequent hip surgery and his most recent battle with the cancer, whose nature he never disclosed except to say it was new, which killed him.

    He must have been in pain; he may have been afraid. Yet again and again, waving the cane that became in his clever hands an asset, he campaigned tirelessly.

    In the end, it was Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett, a family physician whose Toronto practice once counted Mr. Layton’s family as patients, who said it best and with a physician’s sorrowful pragmatism: “As family doctors, we don’t have magic wands…this street fighter lost to the body betrayal.”

    Christie Blatchford: Layton’s death turns into a thoroughly public spectacle | Full Comment | National Post
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  15. #15
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    gawd i hate the national post. piece of shit neocon rag. also not surprising that christie blatchford is the one spewing this shit.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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