It's hard to really convey the kind of optimism that Jack Layton brought to Canadian politics. This was a man who actually seemed to give two shits when he appeared on MuchMusic to encourage young adults to vote, marched in Toronto's Pride parade when Rob Ford would not (in all fairness, it wouldn't have been a march so much as it would have been a waddle), supported gay causes, safe sex and condom use and saved Toronto's bathhouses when others would have torn them down.
I think the most appropriate thing to do would be to post excerpts from his final letter to the people of Canada and those still fighting the good fight against cancer...
To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey as I have done this summer.
Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.