Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Two Thoughts About the Late Jack Layton
I don't have a whole lot to add to what has already been said about Jack Layton, a man who regrettably I never met. There are two things, however, that deserve greater mention.
First, I would like to commend Ed Broadbent for putting Jack Layton's name forward as leader to succeed Alexa McDonough. Broadbent saw with remarkable clarity and prescience what kind of a leader Jack Layton would become. Specifically, Mr. Broadbent said that (1) Layton would bring a new energy to the leadership that would revitalize the party; and (2) Mr. Layton's background in civic and local politics would stand him in good stead in negotiating and forging compromises across party lines--a distinct virtue that made him the linchpin of the three minority parliaments between 2004 and 2011.
Second, part of Layton's legacy is a paradox of political style. He had been accused of being "plastic" a "gladhanding politician" and a hog for the camera and microphone. Yet he struck many Canadians as being unusually authentic and sincere in standing up for the little guy--"Bon jack" as they say in Quebec. The explanation: it may be allright to be a "politician" if you're honest about it, good at it, embrace the political life with gusto, and are genuinely sincere about the cause you are fighting for.