Despite what your political stance might be, you cannot help to appreciate that Jack Layton was a man of convictions, who had vision and a great deal of love for this country. He was a welcome voice in a world that has become increasingly bitter, selfish and short-sighted.
His last letter, written on his deathbed, should be required reading for everyone, and hopefully will spark some sort of change to the way we treat each other and how we approach life in general.
The last half of the letter is most relevant to my students, and the text is as follows:
To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better.
Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful
and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of
inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams,
your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have
placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I
want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this
world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of
climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our
collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and
generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for
justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart
of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the
And finally, to all Canadians: 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.
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.
All my very best,
secondary school teacher, amateur photographer, movie buff, computer nerd .