The Last True NDP Leader In Canada
By Doug Draper
Posted August 22nd, 2016 on Niagara At Large
Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton died five years ago this August 22nd, 2016.
On August 20th, 2016, two days before losing his brave battle with cancer, Canada’s then NDP leader left a an open letter to his fellow Canadians containing words that remain just as wise and inspiring today.
The letter – written in the context of a Harper government still clinging to power by dividing Canadians and by stoking feelings of greed, fear, anger and hate, ended this way – ended with the following words –
“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.”
For younger Canadian’s Jack Layton’s letter had this to say –
“To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada.”
“Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better (and) I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. … “
“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.”
When I read these words I think of the many young people who have come together in Niagara in recent times to say “No” to narrow interests and to stubborn, destructive power and “Yes” to preserving what is left of our region’s natural heritage and to building communities that are more health, prosperous and people friendly and environmentally friendly for generations to come.
They are people like Jon and Stacey and Rose and Owen and so many others – you know who you are – engaging in a peoples’ movement to make this a region we can all play a role in making life better.
In so many ways, you embody the ideals Jack Layton stood for. You are Jack’s children.
Through you, and through everyone out there who works to make our world greener, safer, fairer and more prosperous for all, his spirit lives on.
For a related story on Jack Layton and his final letter to Canadians click on – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/laytons-last-words-love-is-better-than-anger-hope-is-better-than-fear/article617801/ .
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders