I’m saddened by the death of Jack Layton. For those of you not familiar with the Canadian political scene, Mr. Layton was the leader of the New Democratic party and of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in Canada.
His last letter to Canadians summed up why I think he was a great leader. He was a man of optimism, energy and hope. He respected everyone, even those he disagreed with. He built bridges, he built alliances. He focused on what we shared, not on our differences.
There are very few countries where you will hear the Prime Minister thank an opposition party leader, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper did when Mr. Layton assisted in the back rooms to ensure that the national apology in Parliament to Canada’s aboriginal peoples happened.
He had a sense of humour, especially about himself. He listened and then he acted. He did a wonderful job keeping the worse excesses of the Conservative government checked.
I must admit, I am not a fan of many NPD policies. While well-intentioned, they were often unrealistic and overly idealistic. That said, I respected Mr. Layton.
Here is the last paragraph from Mr. Layton’s last letter to Canadians:
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.