In today’s world, it’s rare to find a politician that people respect. It’s even more rare to find a politician who is also a party leader that everyone respects.
But Jack Layton was just that. As people learn that the NDP leader passed away from cancer this morning, condolences are rolling in on Twitter and Facebook. And it seems that Layton truly made an impact on everyone.
The election this past spring was proof of that. Originally seen as a battle between the Conservatives and the Liberals, Layton brought the NDP not only into the discussion, but the NDP nearly crippled two other parties (the Bloc and the Liberals, both of whom now need to look for a new leader and a new strategy to try and get more seats into the House of Commons).
Layton showed tremendous resiliency as NDP leader. Since he took the job in 2003, he went through four elections. Each one saw the NDP do better, garnering more seats each time until the party became the official opposition this year.
Layton was truly a fighter in politics and in life.
I’m not an NDPer, but I have a lot of respect for this man. He never seemed to insult others, or to sink to a level normally seen in politics. To me, he always seemed to be a step above it.
A lot of people are saying they were shocked when they heard the news this morning. I truly was. But the more I think about it, we probably shouldn’t have been. Layton was looking weaker day-by-day on the campaign trail. He was looking frail when he gave his press conference last month, saying he was temporarily stepping down so he could fight cancer for a second time.
We should have seen the signs. But we didn’t. Because we believed Jack Layton could beat cancer again. He was a fighter. We forget that fighters sometimes lose.
And with Layton’s death, we all lost a respected politician and a great man.
RIP Jack Layton.