Many political strategists will judge Jack Layton’s achievements by the
number of seats he won for his party over the years, but behind those
electoral victories was a leader who remained steadfastly committed to his
principles above all.
I met Jack Layton shortly after his arrival in Ottawa as leader of the NDP,
and watched him in the years that followed as he became a good friend of the peace movement.
He spoke up for diplomatic efforts and dialogue with insurgents to end the
war in Afghanistan, years before it became a fashionable position. At the
time, he was derided by his critics, taunted and called names by
Conservative Party members and even had his patriotism questioned.
But today, Layton’s vision is shared widely in capitals around the world as
the only workable solution in that strife-torn region.
There are many other stories like this where Jack endured shameful attacks
from his political opponents while he stood by his principles.
I am certain that Jack Layton will be remembered as second only to Tommy
Douglas himself: one of Canada’s greatest Canadians.
Rideau Institute, Ottawa