Tag Archives: Jack Layton

A Letter to Canadians from the Honourable Jack Layton

From Jack Layton…

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

A few additional thoughts:

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

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To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.

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.

All my very best,

Jack Layton.

Jack Layton

William Perry on Jack Layton’s Death

The following letter is from our frequent contributor, William Perry. I have to say that more often than not I disagree with Perry, however, today he has expressed some of my thoughts very well.

Jack Layton and Stacey

Jack Layton and Stacey

Jack Layton demonstrated his political skill in taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the Liberals and Bloc. He developed his party into a mass movement and used a combination of his popular support and behind-the-scenes intrigue to propel himself into the official opposition. Furthermore, he raised the profile of national socialism, showed how a modern “civilized” country could behave, and created a virtual certainty that he would be misjudged by opponents. His shoes will not be easily filled.

Rest in Peace Mr Layton. You will be missed.

Jack Layton Steps Aside as Leader of the NDP

Letter from ou frequent contributor, William Perry.

EMOTION ASIDE, This is where I am coming from:

The NDP is a party made of varied and arguably strange components, but in essence can be broken down to two major factions, the radicals and the pragmatists. These factions are personified by Layton’s two deputy leaders, Libby Davies and Thomas Mulcair.

At the heart of it all, has always been a reluctance by the New Democrats to look hard at it’s direction and how the party defines itself, specifically the Branding around one personality – Jack’s. With Jack Layton’s health challenges, it highlights the need to expand that leadership base.

You may not agree with me on 99.96 percent of the issues, however as a long time NDPer (42 years and counting), I think it’s a case of the power struggles going on in the party, and an opportunity to “fix it”. I just think that there are a few folks who have been in politics a long time, who want the power and will likely not care how reckless they will become to get it.

In this regard, the New Democratic Party is vulnerable.


Making the Case for Strategic Voting

Now I understand that this post will generate a flurry of emails to me, although people are highly unlikely to comment directly on the post, even though they can do so WITHOUT having to leave even a real or fake email address, but here it goes anyway, VOTE STRATEGICALLY.

Why vote strategically? Because if you do not vote strategically you are acting like Stephen Harper and his Cons; you are being an ideologue. And that is the worst thing about Stephen Harper and his Conservative government; they are ideologically driven.

The fact is that in many ridings across Canada and particularly in BC, there are enough progressive voters in most ridings to defeat the Stephen Harper Conservative candidates. Yes, your vote could help defeat a Stephen Harper government.

Let’s look at an example; in Vancouver Centre Hedy Fry is the Liberal incumbent. The most serious challenge she is facing is from the Stephen Harper Conservative candidate, Jennifer Clarke. And yes, I have prepared myself for the onslaught of angry emails from Adrienne Carr and Karen Shillington. The fact is that neither of them stand a chance of winning that riding. Even with the orange crush of support that Jack Layton has brought forward in Canada, Shillington is not going to win that riding. Adrienne Carr? Keep the dream alive.

So if you are a progressive voter in Vancouver Centre what to do? Vote for Hedy Fry. Hold your nose if you have to but vote for the candidate most likely to put the stop order on Stephen Harper.

Another riding; New West-Coquitlam-Port Moody. Fin Donnelly is the NDP incumbent. He is best positioned to win this riding. However, once again, his greatest threat is from the Stephen Harper Conservative, Diana Dilworth. So if you are a Liberal voter who lives in this riding, vote for Fin Donnelly.

Strategic voting is the only way to ensure that a progressive government is elected on May 2nd. Hold your nose if you must, but in this election we all must vote with our heads, not just our hearts. To learn more about where strategic voting will work best visit Avaaz.org.

Liberal Platform Silent on the HST Payment Clawback

The Ignatieff Liberals are finally releasing a BC platform, a platform that has more than a few similarities to the Jack Layton New Democrats’ platform with one very significant difference; the Liberal platform is silent on the issue of whether the Liberals would or would not claw back the $1.6 billion payment Harper’s Cons made to the Campbell government when they forced the HST on the people of BC.

“The Liberal silence on such a key issue demonstrates just how out of touch they are with British Columbians,” said New Democrat deputy leader Libby Davies.

“At least Harper is being honest about his position. The Conservatives like the HST, they want it in place, and they will punish BC to the tune of $1.6 billion if British Columbians reject the HST in the June referendum.

“The Liberal MPs from BC first said they opposed the HST, then they voted for it in Parliament, and now they’re trying to duck the subject altogether.”

Davies said British Columbians deserve a clear answer from the Ignatieff Liberals about their plans for the $1.6 billion in federal transfer payments Harper used as an incentive for BC to install the HST.

“The Liberal and Conservative MPs from BC really let British Columbians down when they voted to impose the HST, and that’s another reason why British Columbians are voting for Jack Layton and the New Democrats to defeat Conservatives and make life more affordable.”




Are the Federal NDP the Election Spoilers?

When I have too much time on my hands I get to pondering things. This weekend I got to pondering the Canadian federal party system. And specifically, I got to pondering the Liberals and the New Democrats.

I distilled my pondering down to a couple key questions. The first question; do the federal Liberals and New Democrats have so little in common that they would rather have the Stephen Harper Conservatives holding the position of Prime Minister?

The second question; at what point are the federal New Democrats going to realize that Jack Layton, or WHOEVER leads their party is NEVER going to move into 24 Sussex Drive? There is never going to be an NDP majority. There I said it out loud. There is never going to be an NDP majority.

So that brings me to my final question or point that I was pondering; at what point are the federal New Democrats going to realize that they are the spoilers in the federal parliament? They play the role of the Green Party in BC; enough people vote Green to allow the Campbell Liberals to hold onto power.

So going full circle and back to point to ponder number one, I ask once again, is there that much difference between the federal Liberals and New Democrats that they cannot come together to govern our great country for the good of all Canadians? Hey federal NDP and Liberals; come out of the wilderness, quit shouting from out there in the wilderness and come to the table and actually make a positive difference for Canada.