It is 9:30am in Edinburgh…4:30am back home…and I can’t sleep.
Until the wee hours last night, I read everything there was to read…looked at all the videos…poured over and lurked on hundreds of Facebook pages, I am sure, in an effort to feel like I was in Toronto…with all my countrymen mourning the death of Jack Layton.
I have heard my George, when he tells me a story about a man or woman in politics that he admires (who works tirelessly with his/her country in mind…not his/er own political gain), use the phrase ” he was/is a true son or daughter” of the country.
I don’t think there would be many people in Canada who didn’t agree that Jack Layton was a true son of Canada.
I saw the news of Mr. Layton’s death on Twitter yesterday, and called George on Facetime immediately to talk to him about it…he didn’t even know yet…the internet is a powerful thing.
I just could not…still can not believe he is gone.
I was always proud to say, when I lived in East York for 13 years, that I lived in his riding.
I had the great honour of casting a vote for him MANY times…and bragged about it.
Though I am NOT AT ALL a political beast I have talked with George about Jack a lot and I wondered and worried, aloud, if he had the grit and hard side that is needed to be a Prime Minister…then one day I decided maybe he didn’t need to be like all the other politicians…he could just be the way he was…and maybe be Prime Minister…what a concept.
He seemed to remain himself through all of his battles, political and otherwise…he didn’t change or shape himself to fit the picture of what a politician was…he just continued to be himself…I remember him talking about peace keeping at a time when it was not popular.
He was REALLY changing our country…really.
When was the last time you could say that about someone that had worked their way so high in our country’s political scheme?
I thought about Trudeau…though I was very young when he was in power…you knew he truly gave a shit about all the Canadians…not just the ones in his party or who voted him in. He gave a shit about the whole country.
And then Jack Layton penned that glorious letter.
Though this may not be a popular statement and I hope to live to be one hundred, I believe there is a sort of grace in having the knowledge that your time is coming…to tell everyone you love them, to tie up lose ends, to really take in your life…
He used part of his time to take us all, Canada, in his loving hands and tell us it will be alright…well, I thank you so much for that time you spent on us…and made us believe that we can carry on…that we need to continue with his legacy…his fight…his quest to make Canada a better place for all.
And I hesitate to write about this here…but it was actually what spurred me to write about Mr. Layton…so I guess I can thank her for one thing…for making me try to turn a negative into a positive.
Christie Blatchford, columnist for the National Post, in horrible taste, wrote an article just hours after his death judging our WHOLE COUNTRY for mourning him in such a public way. I am sure you will now go and read this article…and I encourage it…and then I ask you to have a think about whether you will continue to read her work.
And then I encourage you to read Mr. Layton’s letter to us.
Dear Christie Blatchford, Thank you for showing us who you truly are. Now we will take you at your word and believe you. I will never read your published works again. Signed, Sharron Matthews
When I was in my 30’s and living “on the Danforth” in Toronto I used to go to Niko’s on the corner of Monarch Park and Danforth for their fabu greek food. One day I was sitting by myself eating my greek salad and I looked at the table in the corner…and there was NDP party member for the government of Ontario, Marilyn Churley and sitting with her was Jack Layton.
I got so excited.
Remember…I know nothing of politics and could care less and till now I would only get this excited when seeing Michael Jackson.
They saw my excitement (anyone who knows me would not be surprised by this) and came over and chatted with me for a few minutes before going back to their meals.
I ran home and told George…so excited.
Now, you could say they were just being political animals…maybe so…but I was just a gal sitting alone…and it made me feel like he cared about what I thought…and I loved that.
And meeting him in person was one of the things that made me think…”Why can’t he just be Jack and be Prime Minister?”
One person at a time.
Thank you Jack for teaching me this…you gotta change the world one person at a time.
Rest in peace.
This is Peter Tabuns, Marilyn Churley and Jack Layton.