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We'll miss you, Jack

To lose Jack Layton at the height of his capacity as a person and as a political leader, is especially sad.

When Jack walked into my graduate course at York University in the early 1970s, it didn't take me long to see that this was someone very special. The energy and the luminous intelligence were on full display, as well as his respect for others, and the joy he took in meeting people.

Through the decades, he joined every political battle with unique optimism. In municipal politics, in the fight for environmental reform, in his support for the homeless and the poor, he threw himself into what he did with the conviction that he could be on the winning side. Jack had no use for fashionable pessimism.

When he became NDP leader, he took a party that had seen better days and led it to become a force that can win the next election. His breakthrough in Quebec is historic, a transformative event in Canada's political history.

We'll miss Jack's energy and his capacity to rise from setbacks and carry on. We'll need to take those qualities to heart in the days ahead. We'll miss you, Jack.

To Olivia and the members of his family, I offer my condolences.

This article was first posted on James Laxer's blog.

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