Today marks the anniversary of the death of Jack Layton. He passed away from cancer on August 22, 2011, leaving a void in Canadian politics which will never be filled in quite the same way. Because Jack Layton was one of a kind.
His message resonated with people so much that he brought the NDP party from 37 seats in the 2008 election to 103 seats in 2011. Under Jack Layton’s leadership, the NDP became the official opposition in Parliament for the first time ever after the 2011 election.
The quote for which he is best remembered comes from the end of a letter he wrote to the Canadian people in his final days. The letter concludes with the now well known passage:
“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.”
Today on rabble radio you’ll hear excerpts from Jack Layton’s state funeral, held at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on August 27, 2011.
You’ll hear Shawn Atleo, who, at the time, was the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. He delivered a blessing on behalf of Canada’s First Nations community. You’ll also hear a welcome message from Anne McGrath, chief of staff during Jack Layton’s time in office, and speeches by Stephen Lewis, a friend, humanitarian and fellow NDP member who was leader of the Ontario NDP in the 1970s. And we finish with Mike Layton, Jack Layton’s son.
Image: Elliott Margolies/Flickr