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Jack Layton

Lots of Twitter bitterness…

… these days. And on both sides of the political spectrum.

Decorum, it seems, has taken a vacation.

The worst Tweets I have seen have lately been attacking and mocking the late Jack Layton:

RT @JohnnyJesus: Do you think #dearjack called the girls Olivia when he was getting Shiatsu’ed ? #ndpquestions#ndp#dearjackmeoff#CdnPoli

I know the Left has been increasingly and equally vitriolic, but I haven’t seen them attacking the recently dead.

How far is too far, folks?


Wonderful choir performance last night…

…at my kids’ school. Nice music, not too long and a great turnout by the school community. And the kids had a great time too!

The show ended with Raffi’s Letter To A Nation… Jack’s last letter that was turned into song. My brother came to the show with us and remarked that only in Ottawa would you see a concert with this tune as a part of it.

He’s probably right.

Just watch. One of those uber social conservatives will get hold of this and cry that our public school teachers are lefties who are working hard to indoctrinate our young.

But the sane among us do recognise that preaching love and hope to the children of our nation really ain’t a bad thing.

Canada misses ya, Mr. Layton.

Letter To A Nation
(Inspired by Jack Layton)

verse 1
Love letter to a nation,
heartfelt words of comfort & courage,
wanting to be heard



verse 2
Love letter to a nation,
words of inspiration from a respected elder,
a message to the young

2nd chorus
3rd chorus
My friends.


One last, brief word about Mr. Layton…

Scores of Canadians are going to speak and write eloquently about Mr. Layton, and what – if any – legacy he will leave, and they will opine on this truly amazing week which culminated in the funeral this afternoon.

So I will not attempt to sum all of “this” up. I could not do it justice.

Yet I cannot help but express one single thought: I do truly hope with all of my being that if Mr. Layton did leave us with a lesson, it is that politics need not be mean, cynical and vindictive. I am not smugly and naïvely claiming that Mr. Layton was completely and always above that fray at all times… tough to pull that off when surrounded by it… but he did eschew the negativity of contemporary western politics whenever possible. He tried to rise above it. And most of the time, well, he did so.

In this blog, I have often written with dismay about the politics of cynicism and negativism and how this has supplanted reasoned debate as language of modern political and social discourse. These are politics that have polarised this country in so many sad ways and I fear will take decades to bring us closer together.

I can only wish that some of our leaders have been paying attention.

Thanks again, Mr. Layton.


Pond scum

Meet your equals.


There is a time and there is a place…

… for cynicism and criticism. There is a time and a place to back off and show some respect.

You’d think that less than 24 hours after the death of a Canadian who was respected by many, many of his countrymen and women is not the time to smear the man, his party or the reaction of Canadians to his untimely death.

But no. Rabid wolves do not have respect for the dead and prefer to tear at the corpse while tributes are still taking place. It gives them a sense of self-importance because they can say – HA, I’m not buying this shit. He was just another guy who died from cancer. Big deal. One less socialist.

Of course Jack Layton was a political man. This is no surprise… or shouldn’t be. He breathed politics 24/7 and sought advantage for himself and his party where it could be gained because he firmly believed that what he did was in the best interest of Canada. He really did. Just as Harper and his followers believe that what they do is best, so did Mr. Layton.

The reaction to his death was predictable. Or should have been. He was a likeable guy. The kind of guy you can picture sitting down in a bar with and shooting the shit… can’t picture doing that with Harper. And the letter? It should have been predictable too. Ever the politico, Mr. Layton saw nothing wrong in penning a “letter from the grave”. From a personal point of view, it likely gave him some comfort. From a political point of view, he would have known that contents of the letter would be copied and published widely – and this sure wouldn’t hurt the party fortunes.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. He was what he was. A fine Canadian who worked hard for his family, party and country.

So now some right-wing journos, commentators and Tweeps are blathering on about the praise being foisted on the guy. And hey, I am not one to fawn over anyone easily. There should be criticism as well as praise whenever looking back at someone’s life. Yes, the praise was uncritical praise for Layton yesterday but that’s OK, isn’t it? It was after all, THE DAY HE DIED.

Have some respect, you wolves, we Canucks are mostly caring and compassionate folks and know that there is a time and place for criticism and a time and a place for unabashed tributes. Back off.


Jack Layton

I just now learned that Mr. Layton has passed away.

My thoughts go out to his family and his colleagues.

This is a sad day for all Canadians regardless of political stripe. We will miss you, Smilin’ Jack!


Jack is looking pretty worn down…

Haven’t seen a picture of him in a while. Due to the cancer treatments, I think he has been laying low. Hopefully his re-emergence is an indication that things are going well.

But man, he has lost some weight… and he was not a hefty man to start with.

Keep at ‘er, Mr. Layton… might not always agree with you, but I hope to hell that you beat this thing!

And yeah – Harpy – listen up and meet with the guy! Maybe, just maybe, someone might have opinions on the latest issues that are better than yours!


Wishing Jack well…

Update #2

Yes, he does have prostate cancer but will stay on as the Leader of the Dippers while undergoing treatment. Best wishes and good karma from this former-Dipper to he and his family.

Update –

CBC is reporting that he will announce that he has prostate cancer.

I really hope that this is not true.

CBC has announced that Jack Layton will make a statement about his “personal status, and his immediate future as NDP leader” at 2 pm today.


He’s gonna step down? Didn’t see that coming if that indeed is what this is about.

It’s the “personal status” thing that bugs me. Is he ill?

Maybe he wants to run in the T.O. mayoralty race.


Dippers, ReformCons & olive tree

Well, if the ReformCons aren’t interested in working with the NDP to keep the current session of Parliament afloat, they sure aren’t showing it!

The Globe is reporting that the CPC is offering an olive branch to the Dippers in the form of EI reforms in an effort to keep the minority government from being defeated. Olive branch? That is a freaking tree!

Yesterday, I posted a piece about the Dippers’ change of heart. Now, it’s the Harperites turn to turn the canoe around and paddle upstream. Just a while ago, Harper said that the EI system was just fine, thank-you.

In early May, Stevo said:

…the recent federal budget made improvements to the system, including an extra five weeks of benefits for recipients.

“Canada has a very generous system of employment insurance that was, in fact, enhanced in the most recent economic action plan of this government,” he said.

and now, in September:

In a bid to stave off defeat, or at least shame the parties that force it, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s embattled minority government announced plans to table legislation that would expand employment insurance for long-tenured workers who lose their job.

And as far as the NDP are concerned, it might just do the trick.

“This proposition is a very serious proposition,” NDP finance critic Paul Dewar told reporters, just minutes after Human Resources Minister Diane Finley and Revenue Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn announced the expanded benefits. If the legislation truly does assist the unemployed, he said, “we would be irresponsible not to seriously consider and support that.”

I’m not necessarily against staving off an election since from my anti-Harper perspective, the chances of bringing down his government later are greater than they are now, IMHO.

And I, apparently unlike the majority of my countrymen and women, absolutely LIVE FOR elections.  But I want the next one to turn out more to my liking. So if the Dippers and the ReformCons want to play footsie, then go for it!

"OH NO! He's gonna throw up and I have to pretend I don't care!"

"OH NO! He's gonna throw up and I have to pretend I don't care!"


Maybe the Dippers aren’t ready?

Interesting to see all of the bluster that, just a little while back, was being puffed out of NDP mouths everywhere has now faded to mere indifference. The rhetoric has gone from “we’re gonna drive the CPC back into the caves from which they emerged!”



Jack, a few months ago (June 22): (1)

‘Anybody who’s holding their breath and thinking that’s going to change should think twice,’ NDP Leader says

NDP Leader Jack Layton says his party will not prop up the Conservative government if the Liberals move a motion of no-confidence in the fall.

“Our party has opposed the direction of Stephen Harper 79 times in confidence motions so anybody who’s holding their breath and thinking that’s going to change should think twice,” Mr. Layton told a press conference on Monday morning.

And now (September):

“I think that everybody involved would want to see us co-operate in the House of Commons and get some results for people — especially those that are struggling right now: the unemployed and people being left behind,” Mr. Layton said as he inched away from reporters at an archway opening in Toronto.

“So that’s going to remain our preoccupation.”

Personally, I don’t mind if Jack props up Stevie for a while since I am not convinced that this is the best time to defeat the ReformCons (plus it will give many a good belly-laugh). Yes, Iggy had not choice but to throw down the proverbial gauntlet, but realistically the best the Grits can hope for, IMO, is a slim Grit minority. They still need more time to re-build the Grit brans and more specifically, the leader’s brand.

But hey, I don’t get paid for these opinions, so I can say what I like, eh?

So why has the NDP cooled their jets? Likely resources – or a lack thereof. The Dippers would dearly like a few more months to build up their war chest and get their issues into the faces of Canadians. The Grits and the Harperites have grabbed the “helping out the downtrodden and unemployed” banner in recent weeks and Layton and his team will have to work hard to get it back.

And that will take some time.

1. Original article was in the G&M but is now archived and only accessible on a fee-for-service basis.