When I heard that Jack Layton had passed away, I was sitting in a room at my chiropractor's office, waiting for my appointment. I sat there in stunned silence. I truly wanted to believe that it was one of those jokes. That someone had hacked a twitter account somewhere and posted a cruel joke. Sadly, it is heartbreakingly true.
When the last election campaign was running, Zachary was very curious about the whole process. He is eight, and they had been talking about it a bit in class. I have always, always exercised my right to vote, and was thrilled to be able to talk with my son about it.
I remember in one discussion, he asked me who I was going to vote for. We spoke a bit about how voting is a private matter and typically it wasn't polite to ask someone who they planned to vote for because it is a personal choice. I then told him that I wasn't yet sure.
Like many Canadians, I was very disenchanted with the system. It seemed that we were forced into another election, but being presented with the exact same choices.
But as I watched the campaign unfold, Jack Layton began to truly stand out.
And it wasn't about the politics.
It was about his positive message, his passion, and his integrity. I didn't necessarily agree with all of his policies. It would be rare that I ever fully agreed with any one party's politics. Jack's character, however, completely impressed me. And that's what truly matters, I think.
If only all our politicians loved Canada and its people as much as Mr. Layton did, and loved the politics just a little less, Canada wouldn't just be great, it would be incredible.
In our election discussions, I tried to explain that eachof the parties' policies are important, but the most important is the integrity of the person. Jack Layton showed that in spades.
I have always voted for the person I felt was best for my riding. In the most recent election, I voted for the person I thought could change Canada.
I truly believe that he already has.
One of the strongest examples of this, for me, is in his farewell letter to Canadians.
He reaches out to others fighting cancer; people he knew identified with his fight and felt they were fighting along with him.
He tells them to keep fighting, and reminds them that there is hope. There is always hope.
I hope that my children have the opportunity to learn more about Jack Layton. He is an incredible role model. Canada - the whole world- needs more people with that kind of heart.
RIP Jack Layton. Thank you.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world. ~ Jack Layton
How are YOU going to change the world?