Jack Layton Will be Missed But His Vision Will Live On

Like many Canadians I was sad to learn of Jack Layton's passing earlier this week.

Many Canadians will remember Jack Layton as a charismatic political leader who led the NDP to its biggest breakthrough in history. They will remember him as a tireless campaigner in elections who established a personal connection with so many Canadians.

Others will remember him for his commitment to making Canada a better place. They will remember his vision of social and economic justice and his dedication to saving our environment.

I too will always remember Jack for his tremendous leadership but I will remember his personal side as well.

I will never forget the encouragement he gave me first as a young candidate and then as the youngest woman MP in the last Parliament. It is no accident that so many young NDP MP's were elected in the last election. Jack really believed in encouraging young people to get involved in politics.

I will also never forget Jack's visits to our riding. He visited not just at election time but in between elections. I remember how proud he was to be made an honorary Steelworkers by Local # 1-324 in The Pas. I remember his visit to Pukatawagan.  How he took the time to visit a family where 16 people were living in a mold infested home. How personally moved he was by what he saw. 

As many come to grips with Jack's passing over the next days and weeks one thing is for sure. Many of us are committed to ensuring his vision and legacy live on.

What better vision could there be for all of us than Jack's final words.

"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."