A new initiative was launched on July 25 reminding Canadians of Jack Layton’s push for us to be loving, hopeful and optimistic. Layton died of cancer on August 22, 2011, after leading Canada’s New Democrats to the official opposition for the first time in the country’s history. He has left a legacy for the next generation.
Layton wanted Canadians to be hopeful about the future and about the country’s politics, and he wanted to be an example that being optimistic about change, along with a lot of hard work, can lead to change.
“Jack showed us that being compassionate and loving in politics can and will lead to success. I’ve seen Canadians across the country embrace Jack’s message. I’m excited to see his legacy recognized through DearJack.ca,”¯ said Layton’s widow, Olivia Chow, who sat beside her husband as an MP for Trinity–Spadina.
The initiative encompasses a website, DearJack.ca, where Canadians are invited to share their words, photos and videos expressing how Layton’s legacy is affecting them and how they are working towards a better Canada and a better world. Tweets featuring the hashtags #DearJack and #CherJack will also be displayed on the site. The campaign will end with a ceremony marking the anniversary of Layton’s death at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto. After his death, people in Toronto flocked to the square and filled it with chalk messages to Jack. Messages will still be accepted on DearJack.ca up after the celebration of Layton’s life.
“My family has been deeply touched by the support of Canadians over the past year. Every day, people strive to make this country even better, just as my dad encouraged us all to do in his last letter. DearJack.ca is a powerful platform for expressing how we’re affecting change and for inspiring one another,” said Mike Layton, Jack’s son and a member of Toronto’s city council.
The Dear Jack campaign has been put together by Layton’s family, friends and colleagues who wanted some way to mark the anniversary of his passing and knew that many Canadians would feel the same way. It is a way to honor the gift that Layton left in his farewell letter, in which he declared:
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.
“This is an inspiring way for Canadians to come together to express how Jack’s work lives on,” said Kathleen Monk, Executive Director of the Broadbent Institute.
Disclosure: I was a staffer in Jack Layton’s office between 2008 and his death, he continues to be serve as an inspiration to me.
Photo Credit: Matt Jiggins
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