Keith Beardsley’s View From the Hill – Mourning Jack Layton – August 22, 2011

CFN – Today Canada morns the loss of a great politician and a very decent person, sadly, Jack Layton lost his fight with cancer at age 61.

Layton’s passing is a huge loss for the country, not only because of his role as the leader of the NDP, but because Jack was that special breed of politician that earned our respect for his hard work and commonsense approach to politics. You didn’t have to agree with Layton’s political beliefs to like the man that represented his party so well in the House of Commons.

Canadians from coast to coast could admire his attempts to turn down the volume in the House of Commons and we were encouraged by his efforts to get the various parties working together. We admired his discipline and courage during the campaign as he waved his walking stick in the face of his pain and carried on with his national campaign, never showing the public a hint of what he was going through. Canadians collectively were shocked when he first announced he was dealing with cancer and we admired his bravery as he fought back both times against the disease.

Jack, as most people referred to him, was genuinely liked by elected officials of all political stripes. That alone is a testament to his appeal, decency and the way he approached politics. That cannot be said about many others in this age of polarized political warfare.

His personal political success and his leadership style contributed to the NDP’s successful showing in the last election. People wanted to vote for Jack, they liked him, they trusted him and his personal appeal helped to propel his party into second place.

He will be missed, but his service to his country will not be forgotten. That will be a fitting legacy for a very decent man and outstanding politician. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails.


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