Au revoir, Le Bon Jack, si bien, si gentil

Very sad news this morning. Canada lost a good politician, Jack Layton, a decent and likable man with a great heart, who has been able to transcend the bitterness that politics seems to breed. His untimely death is so damn unfair! Here are some excerpts from a letter he penned in his final days.

Jack Layton, MP, Député
Leader of the Official Opposition/Chef de l’Opposition officielle

August 20, 2011, Toronto, Ontario

Dear Friends,

… To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

… Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward.

… To young Canadians: There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

… And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world.

… Consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.

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.

All my very best,

Jack Layton

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