The Primate remembers Jack Layton

Canadians from coast to coast to coast unite in mourning the death of the Hon. Jack Layton, Leader of the Official Opposition and of the New Democratic Party.  Jack was a dynamic leader and politician known for his integrity, energy, and enthusiasm.  He was passionate about issues of justice.  He walked with the poor and the marginalized.  He cared about the impact of the economy on health care, housing, and education.  He held family life to be of immense value in building a wholesome society.

The Hon. Jack Layton passed away Aug. 22, 2011, after a battle with cancer. MATTJIGGINS ON FLICKR
The Hon. Jack Layton passed away Aug. 22, 2011, after a battle with cancer. MATTJIGGINS ON FLICKR

His entire public life was characterized by a profound commitment to the common good.  He was a champion of human rights, and a passionate environmentalist.  Proud to be Canadian he cared deeply about our place among the nations.  In his final letter to all of us he wrote, “Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world.  We can be a better one—a country of greater equality, justice and opportunity.”  None of us will ever forget the last words of that letter, addressed to cradle Canadians and new ones, young and old, rich and poor, “Let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic…and we’ll change the world.”

Let us be thankful for this great Canadian who was a friend to so many in so many walks of life and in so many political circles.  May his example inspire us to raise the flag and sing with pride, “God keep our land glorious and free.”

As a nation mourns, let us remember especially Jack’s wife, Olivia Chow, and their family, and pray that they may find comfort in the support of all who uphold them in prayer at this time.

In honouring the legacy of a life well lived, St. Paul’s words to the Philippians come to mind:  “Whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

And in the spirit of Jack Layton let us act on them.

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