Canada has been in mourning this week. We mourn someone who was unlikely to ever become our Prime Minister, but someone who none the less stayed the course and kept us all believing that truth and candour in government could exist. Jack Layton was the leader of the New Democrat Party. They have a strong environmental position and are a friend to the average Canadian. There has been an outpouring of grief that this country hasn’t seen in many years. We’re grieving the loss of Jack, but we’re also grieving the leader of the opposition, the person who was in the role to stand up to our Prime Minister and THAT is arguably the most important role in the country. Canada is basically for sale, and Jack Layton was the kind of guy that wanted to keep this treasure for Canadians today and for future Canadians. Jack Layton really did care about Canada and this beautiful country in ways that were about quality of life, and taking the emphasis off perpetual growth. He saw Canada as a loving place, a place where we are all responsible to make it great.
There is an element of trust in knowing someone who really cares about you as a person is in office. With trust comes quality of life, a belief that someone is giving you consideration when making choices. With trust we believe we can succeed at being great. Jack made us hopeful about the greatness of Canada. That is why we mourn his loss, because for many of us, we have lost a beacon of hope and optimism, and one where there isn’t an immediate replacement in view.
What I love about Canada most is its lack of pretence. It is what it is. This country hasn’t tried (up until recent years) to be what it isn’t capable of, it hasn’t tried to be bigger than it is, it hasn’t taken a position of defence in the world. Every culture in the world is represented here in Toronto and they are not assimilated upon entry, they are given space to breathe and live their life as they choose. Canada is not a country that tells people who to love and who to be weary of, it is a welcoming country, a safe haven for people tired of conflict and hate. Canada is a place to grow roots and live in peace.
As the day came to a close I found myself wondering about the future of Canada. I found myself wondering if the children of today will ever experience leadership like we have seen in the past. I wondered if somehow Canada’s very culture is at stake. I wondered if the sale is on and no one is there to ensure our best kept treasures aren’t tossed into the dollar bin, what will Canada look like in 20 years? Will it be so foreign to me as a Canadian that I no longer really feel like I have a home? Then it occurred to me, I’m already there.
The world is being run by the people with the most money. It’s being run like a business, but the problem is, businesses go under and fail every day, more so today than ever before. Businesses fail because of lack of foresight, changes in consumer need and because of lack of positive culture. People want to work for a great company, a company that takes care of them and people want to live in a great country, one that represents their beliefs and leaves behind some kind legacy for the next generation. If hope and optimism are taken away, people put on their shoes and start walking.
Rest in peace Mr. Jack Layton. Thank you for your leadership, for representing Canada in a loving and accepting way, and for giving us pride in what is great and excitement for what is possible. If I could have one wish it would be to find a replacement tout suite lest we forget about your ideals and dreams for this vast incredible place. Good leaders help us see what is great and get us feeling passionate about keeping it and protecting it. They build teamwork into everything they do, and they build community. Canada has lost a very good leader this week, and perhaps feels a tad like somewhere in the process, we may have lost our way too.