“No one is irreplaceable, but he is about as close as they come.” – Former prime minister Brian Mulroney.
“As you know, Jack was a musician — he was quite a natural one at that. And we always talked about getting together to jam. But it seemed we were both always too busy. I will always regret the jam session that never was.” – Stephen Harper.
“I am deeply saddened by the untimely death of Jack Layton. Collectively, Canadian hearts are breaking. Jack will always be remembered for his unfailing love of Canada and his dedication to this country and its citizens.” – Green party Leader Elizabeth May.
“After Question Period, the lobby is a crowded, rowdy place, full of MP’s, staffers, guests, standing around, plotting, drinking cups of tea or coffee, talking on cellphones or the phones by the chairs. I see this scene and I see Jack on crutches, his face moist with sweat and his complexion pale, powering his way through this crowd, cantilevering his body on crutches, taking the weight on his shoulders, moving towards his caucus area in the lobby. It is an image of a man struggling, in the middle of a crowd, to prevail, to make it through. What I remember best is his smile: cheerful, jaunty and buoyant. The smile was an inspiration, then and now.” – Michael Ignatieff
“He was a man of great generosity. We would see each other of the gym, and he was always happiest after seeing his granddaughter, Beatrice, who he talked about all the time. I’m filled with great sadness.” – Gilles Duceppe
“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.” – Jack Layton’s last letter to Canadians.
With the passing of Jack Layton, there’s no doubt it’s a sad day for Canada in many senses. I’m not big on getting political on my blog – I think the democratic process is important, but I am not convinced my specific opinions would be relevant to everyone.
That said, Jack was an exceptional leader – and I mean that not in the political party sense, but as a leader of all politicians – a group which many youth and Canadians in general had a tough time trusting or even accessing as people. Jack re-humanized a profession that has put itself through a lot of dark and nasty stuff – those who count on it to enable change also had to go through that dark and nasty stuff.
I am certain that some of the truly great leaders of tomorrow will be compared to JL.