The Grid’s Edward Keenan:
People will say—I know they are already are saying—that he was a man who was in politics “for the right reasons.” Unlike many, I think that is true of most polticians, however effective they may or may not be, and no matter how distracted they may become. But the interesting thing about Layton is that the wrong reasons appear not to have ever occurred to him. He coupled that with boundless energy and an inability to see anything as impossible or to interpret anything as a setback.
Contra Yeats, he was a man of great conviction who was full of passionate intensity. Our country, his party and our politics are lessened by his loss.
Long may the spirit of his relentless smile live on.
Jack Layton died today. It sucks.
I feel dumb. Knowing I’d be off at a meeting all day and away from the computer, I scheduled a few posts to run automatically on this blog. When I heard the Layton news on the 501 streetcar this morning, I had no time to alter or reschedule those posts. So, as planned last night, they went up over the course of the day.
I feel, as the guy who both writes and edits and promotes this blog, that the ideal thing to do would have been to postpone those posts, to spend the day linking to articles about Jack Layton, to try to — on this terrible occasion — find a way to celebrate his life and his contribution to Toronto and to Canada.
I regret the error.
Still, though, I suppose there are worse ways to honour the man than with political arguments. Calling out a conservative bluff, championing community activism and involvement and working toward a fair, dignified strategy to eliminate poverty — these are some of the things that Jack Layton stood up for. Their subjects typify just a few of the political battles he fought and a measure of the legacy he leaves.
The memory of this sad day will soon fade and what we’ll be left with is that legacy. A legacy that informs all of us who have passion for where we live. And while Layton is tinged with the colours of the party that he led and took so far — and could have taken farther — what he leaves us is not a spirit of partisanship or ideology. Instead, it’s about a driving desire to make the places we live in better than they are now. It’s about building collaborative and vibrant places where all things are possible to all peoples and creating cities and countries that continuously improve. That always endure. That last.
Toronto was lucky to have Jack Layton as a resident, a leader and a champion. His work in this city and for this city continues to impact us every day. Let’s hold onto all he gave us, and let it guide us forward. Toward something better. Something that lasts.