Tribute: Jack Layton

News broke this morning about Jack Layton’s passing, and a quiet condolence was heard across the nation. The 61-year-old leader of the Opposition passed “peacefully at home” surrounded by his loved ones and wife, MP Olivia Chow. Layton announced just about a month ago that he was stepping back from his role as Leader of the NDP party to fight a second undisclosed cancer – he previously battled prostate cancer and suffered from a fractured hip during the last campaign – and sadly, he lost this bout early this morning.

Jack Layton was known as a charismatic leader, someone with guts and guile and honesty. His personality is often credited as what helped bring the NDP to prominence during this year’s federal election; a true underdog story. He was interested in always looking towards the future of the NDP party and building stronger social foundations for Canada, and he always stayed true to his convictions and beliefs.

While his passing is cause for sadness and lowered heads, we can also honour his contributions to Canada’s political discussion by learning from his person. There’s a lesson to be learned in enjoying the journey and not just the destination. Layton is someone who dedicated his life to pursuing his and his party’s goals, and stayed true to this fight as he was dealing with his personal battles. His strength was immense, and his humility commendable. Whether or not you subscribe to the NDP mandate, there’s no way you can deny him respect as a leader, and a campaigner for his cause. He may have passed before he could really see the fruits of achievements come to fruition, but we’re sure that his memory will live on, and his contributions remembered. Here’s looking at you, Smiling Jack.