Today Canadians lost a very brave and passionate man, NDP leader Jack Layton, to cancer. Many of us were not really even aware of truly how sick Jack actually was until a month ago; pictures were posted and revealed the true nature of his condition, which was very grave indeed. Today we know that cancer won this battle.
I will admit that in the political sphere for many years I found Jack’s approach very idealistic. At times I wondered how genuine Jack actually was in his hopes for our country, for the care of our senior citizens, for what he saw Canada could be through his eyes.
With time, I realized that in fact Jack is and was the epitome of hope and belief in the betterment of not only Canada as a whole, but in each individual Canadian. He hoped that his love for our country would inspire us to want better and to be better. So much so, of course, that his own health was a mere blip in his existence in his goal to see the Canada in which he believed so much. I admire his persistence.
Cancer is a very exhausting and hope-sapping disease. It has taken the lives of many friends and family, and it will continue to do so. However, tireless efforts in research and fundraising for research are changing that all the time. Jack Layton defied the disease in that he refused to give up, mentally and physically, and gave all he had. Many of you are fighting in this manner with not only cancer but your own physical conditions that plague and tire you, but you do not give up.
In Jack’s final words, “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”. Let us all hope that Jack can inspire us all in whatever life brings to us individually and as a country that we do not lose hope, and continue to fight for what we believe in as passionately.
Let us keep Jack and his family and friends in our thoughts today, and light a candle in his honour.