This is a post I never imagined I would be writing, at least for quite some time. I've never made my politics a secret, and anyone who knows me will know how I admired Jack Layton. I agreed with most of his politics, especially his strong advocacy for the environment and gay rights -- two issues which I believed him to be an honest advocate for, not just for political face value, and issues which I have always felt the other political parties lacked genuine support for. These two issues, among others that Layton stood for, represented my values as a person and, I would wager, a fair many other people in my age group.
I am deeply saddened by the news that Jack Layton passed away this morning, losing his battle with cancer. His optimism and courage were so steadfast that I believed that I would see Layton back in parliament in September fighting for the Canada that I envisioned. Even when he announced he was stepping out of the light to focus on his treatment, I believed he would be back stronger than ever fighting for my Canada.
I never had the opportunity to attend any NDP rallies, but I do have fond memories of my first Pride Parade in Toronto this past year with some dear friends on mine. It was exciting for me, not only because of the happiness and celebration in the air for all people of all genders, lifestyles, and sexual orientations, but also because I was only metres away from Jack Layton and Olivia Chow. I was excited to see Layton and really pleased to see him, despite his health troubles, out and supporting a cause that is important to both of us (and in my opinion, should be to all Canadians). It was the icing on top of a fantastic day, especially for my friend, Micaela, who Jack turned to and said, "You look great!" Haha.
Jack Layton is an inspiring Canadian figure for myself and for many other Canadians. I hope that others who respected the difference that Jack made will continue to fight for causes they believe in. Rather than honour the man with words, honour him with your ACTIONS. Support your community, support the environment, support gay rights! Get involved in any cause you believe in - donate, or even better than money, roll up your sleeves and get involved! You can't put a price on involvement.