Trustache: Muddled Thoughts About Jack Layton

In an article for the Toronto Star recently, Canadians were asked to share how Jack Layton influenced them. In response, I would like to share what I wrote the day he died.

At 4:45 am we lost him.

Already support has been pouring in so much. I’ve never been one to be effected by deaths of people I don’t know, with the odd exception of Steve Irwin. But hearing the news, tears immediately welled up in my eyes.

There’s a lot of things I could say. About amazing mustaches. About hope, about democracy, about the passion and love for our country. About cancer, about the many amazing people it has taken away from us. Really, cancer is such a part of the Canadian narrative, our folklore, as well as affecting all of us in some way. Perhaps that’s why it affected me so. This is the not the first person in my life to fight against this and lose.

I wanted this man to be my prime minister. I had never trusted another person to be my prime minister. Every other candidate I have ever seen I had never liked enough, never believed enough. But with him, sincerity was just so inherent. He cared. From same sex rights to labour unions to the missing Aboriginal women. I know he inspired many of us. For me, it was only in this last year where I really understood what he was doing, and when I realized he really meant it. In a world of cynics, a breath of fresh air. When I finally trusted, had hope in where my country was going, he was taken away from us.

How do you say goodbye to that?

In a way, you don’t. You carry on that fight, which I know many of you do. I have so many amazing friends in politics and in social justice who will continue to do marvelous things that inspire us all.

But for the man who passed away this morning, there’s so many things to say. I wanted to say something spiritual, but I don’t know what faith tradition Layton was from and even then, I don’t know what to say that would be comforting and meaningful. But, he and I do have something deeply in common. We’re die hard Trekkies. So I don’t mean this as disrespect when I quote this:

We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honoured dead.

And yet it should be noted that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes places in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish.

He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings.

Of my friend, I can only say this:

Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels,

his was the most…


Rest in Peace, Layton. Thank you.

so i just spent 20 minutes in the ‘jack layton’ tag…

now i’m feeling both grief and inspiration.

can’t believe it’s been a year…

fyi tomorrow both this blog and my celebrate diversity blog are going to  be mostly memorial posts.

we miss you jack