EDITORIAL: Politics suffer without Layton

Late NDP leader’s contribution to Canada transcended party lines.

Left, right or indifferent, the loss of Jack Layton​ was a blow to Canadian politics.

Layton, who led Canada’s Official Opposition, died early Aug. 22 at 61 in his Toronto home after a battle with cancer.

Condolences, tributes and memories have flooded every medium, while huge crowds gathered near the Centennial Flame at Parliament Hill and across the country on Saturday for the funeral.

Many left flowers, cards, notes and cans of Orange Crush, the party’s official colour.

Politicians from all political stripes have issued emotional statements, highlighting Layton’s integrity, strength and perseverance.

“Canada has lost a great politician. A man who believed in working for the public good. And I’ve lost a personal friend,” longtime former NDP leader and MP Ed Broadbent said.

It’s heartbreaking to note this collaboration, this sharing of grief is what is finally pounding this great leader’s message across.

But surely, if there’s a silver lining, it’s the shedding of party lines, if only momentarily, to come together in celebration of a man who had all Canadians’ best interests at heart.

Layton’s last words to the country and its citizens to which he dedicated decades of his life has been copied and pasted on thousands of Facebook profiles:

“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.”

Thank you, Jack Layton, may you rest in peace.

– Quesnel-Cariboo Observer

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