Out of all of the Federal party leaders that have come and gone since I really began following politics just after high school, there’s no question Jack Layton seemed like the most real.
With Jack Layton it seemed like the person you saw on the TV was the same person you’d get if you sat down with him in a bar or a Tim Horton’s to grab a drink. When he was listening to people talk, you really got the sense he was truly listening and taking in their concerns. He didn’t seem to carry any questionable airs about him.
The role he played and the impact he had on the Canadian political system can not be denied. A quick look at the results will show you that when Jack Layton took over from Alexa McDonough he took the party from 13 seats to 19 seats in the 2004 election, more than doubled that 13-seat number to 29 seats in the 2006 election, gained eight more seats in 2008 and this year thrust the party into Official Opposition territory with 103 seats while pretty much wiping the Bloc Quebecois off the map and leaving the Liberals a distant third. And while it can’t all be attributed to Jack Layton the Liberal Party fell from 135 seats in the 2004 election, his first as NDP leader, to just 34 seats in 2011.
Jack Layton had a way of connecting with the Canadian public, with youth and seniors alike, and unfortunately left before we were able to what he was truly capable of.
“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” – Jack Layton.