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.
This letter appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, the Calgary Herald, the Vancouver Sun, the Charlottetown Guardian, The Comox Valley Echo, the Daily Courier (Vernon), and others.