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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Once there was a haunted loop / of your deep fallen tears / a forehead resting / on a record shelf
— A.C. Newman, There are Maybe 10 or 12
August 22, 2011
Jack Layton: 1950 - 2011

Jack Layton passed away this morning. I used to write about politics quite a bit more here, for the most part because I was involved in politics quite a bit more. I fled that particular rat race and it’s in no small part because there’s not enough people like Jack Layton in politics today.

Whether you agreed with him or not, and whether you were a member of the NDP or not, it was hard not to respect Jack. He was a man who stood by his convictions, who tried to fight for political ideals that he valued instead of just blatantly grabbing votes. In an election typified by the Harper campaign of attack ads and Michael Ignatieff’s desperate “vote for us because we’re not them” plea, Jack was the only person who seemed to be moving the discussion forward.

Much has been made on the news today of the fact that people tended to call the man “Jack.” In stark contrast to the other party leaders—no one’s ever called Ignatieff “Michael” or “Mike” and only George W. Bush ever called Harper “Steve”—Jack Layton was a comfortable presence. He was a man that people felt like they could sit down and have a conversation with.

More importantly, he was a man people could sit down and have a conversation with. He lacked the arrogance of his fellow party leaders, and it’s why he did so well.

He was rewarded, famously, in Quebec. Jack won more seats than any NDP leader ever had. That those seats were won by candidates who were unknown (and unqualified, though few could define the qualifications required to be an MP) speaks even more strongly to the strength of the man. When Quebec chose to abandon the Bloc Quebecois they chose Jack Layton’s NDP largely because it was Jack Layton’s NDP.

This leaves the NDP with an uncertain future, and only the Conservative Party of Canada with an established permanent leader. It’s going to be an interesting few years.

One thing’s certain though: it’s going to be a lot less interesting without Jack in the election. He was the only person who steered the last campaign to a meaningful conversation, and he won’t be there for the next one.

So long Jack. Thanks for being the only leader in recent memory who seemed to care more about the country than getting elected.

Posted by skooter at 6:14 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
This entry is tagged: Jack Layton, Michael Ignatieff, NDP, Stephen Harper

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