If you were keeping up with my coverage of the Canadian elections earlier this year, you heard me mention NDP leader Jack Layton's name more than a few times
In this recent 2011 election they rode a wave of historic support, especially in his native Quebec to garner 103 seats and become the Official Opposition party in the next parliament for the first time in their 50 year party and Canadian history when it cranks up for business later this fall.
In the 2011 election campaign he did so while recovering from a broken hip and battling prostrate cancer. But unfortunately since that election Layton's condition worsened and he passed away on Monday at age 61.
on the party website.:
New Democrats today are mourning the loss of a great Canadian.
Jack was a courageous man. It was his leadership that inspired me, and so many others, to run for office. We – Members of Parliament, New Democrats and Canadians – need to pull together now and carry on his fight to make this country a better place.
On behalf of New Democrats from coast to coast to coast, our thoughts and prayers are with our colleague Olivia Chow, Jack’s children Sarah and Mike and the rest of Jack’s family.
And we remember the Tommy Douglas quote Jack included in every email he sent: “Courage my friends, ‘tis never too late to build a better world.”
He won't be around to shepherd his party as the Official Opposition, but before he passed away he wrote this letter to his fellow Canadians.
Layton closed his letter to Canadians with these words.
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.
I'll try my best to remember that.
Rest in peace, Jack. Your family, your party, your country and all who treasure human rights and a fair and just society in Canada and around the world are going to miss you.