Jack Layton Passes Away

This morning we awake to the news that, sadly, Jack Layton lost his battle to cancer this morning at the age of 61.

A relatively young man, it is sad that on the eve of his party's greatest moment, his personal circumstances took such a tragic turn for the worse.

Agree with his politics or not - as I've blogged before, we have to appreciate the effort that it takes to be a politician, particularly in this day and age of instant 24 hour per day news (and blogs).  A politician, particularly the leader of a national party, must endure a grueling examination in a way that was unheard of just a couple decades ago - and while we are fond of pillorying those with him we disagree (and I am no exception), we seldom give them credit for "fighting the good fight".. putting their views on display for all to criticize and sometimes ridicule.

More importantly, I would say this:

The NDP was never going to form a government in this country.

The best that the NDP could hope for was to influence government indirectly, and to perhaps, obtain a few concessions here and there.  They were never going to be able to secure the purely socialist government that their strongest supporters sought like a holy grail.

And, yet.. they persevered with democracy.  Refusing to break the laws to influence change - we never found NDP members taking people hostage, bombing banks, damaging oil sands machinery.  They, and in particular, their leader Jack Layton continued to show an abiding respect for the democratic process.

And that is to be admired.

In his effort, and the effort of his party, there is a lesson that even the hardest core conservatives can take from his example, namely, that the democratic process trumps all.  That as committed as we are to the "rightness" of our cause, even more important than our personal politics is the commitment that we all must share to the democratic process itself.

As such, it is with sadness that we receive the news of Mr. Layton's passing, and certainly, our condolences go out to his family and his friends this sad day.

Mr. Layton - you fought the good fight, the way it was meant to be fought.

Rest in Peace, Jack.