August 22, 2011

Remembering Jack (Day 31 - August 22, 2011)

The Honourable Jack Layton (1950 - 2011)
I had planned to blog today about a wonderfully warm night, an update from the weekend, and pay day from my "pet feeding job" . . . but all of that will have to wait until tomorrow.  Today is devoted to some reflections inspired by Jack Layton, Canada's Leader of the Official Opposition, who passed away early this morning following a battle with cancer.

I read an obituary about Mr. Layton posted earlier today on CBC.  It talked about his family's involvement in Canadian politics going right back to Confederation, and continuing through to his son who was elected as a City Councillor in Toronto.  The piece covered all of Jack's public service starting when he was a teenager, to becoming a City Councillor in Toronto, to unsuccessful attempts to being elected federally, to eventual success in being elected to Parliament along with becoming leader of the NDP, and ultimately leading the NDP to their greatest ever showing in an election and becoming the Official Opposition.  Throughout his career, he has fought for those who are most vulnerable in our society . . . the poor, those on reservations, the elderly, and the working many just trying to make ends meet.  Of course, even those who disagreed with his politics, knew that Jack Layton was an admirable man and a great Canadian.

The thing that really struck me today, and in fact caused some tears to be shed, were Jack's own words as found in the letter that he wrote a couple of days ago and was released today by his family.  Allow me to share a few of them with you, and the thoughts that they inspired about this project . . .

"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."

That Poverty Project is all about hope and optimism.   While it is necessary to bring attention to the problems of poverty, such is done to define the parameters of the task and not to create doom and gloom.  Quite to the contrary, just as Mr. Layton ALWAYS provided solutions, and focused on the positive in doing so, That Poverty Project is about encouraging people to work together to make huge differences in the lives of those in need . . . and always knowing that WE CAN defeat poverty.

"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."

While directed towards young Canadians, I believe that each one of us can benefit from this encouragement.  Yes, there are problems . . . with poverty being the unfortunate result of many of them.  However, each one of us has the ability to be part of the solution.  In fact, there are some things that you can do that no one else can or will do.  That Poverty Project is designed to look great challenges square in the eye, and encourage each person to do that little bit only they can in order to bring about great change in the world and better lives for those currently living in poverty.

"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. . . . Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done."

We can . . . we can . . . we can.  It's easy to criticize and be a naysayer, but we are called to be more than that.  We are called to be part of the solution.  We are to stand together and support one another in the face of those who would give up on those in need . . . who would give up on changing the world for the better.  Poverty can be eliminated . . . and don't let anyone tell you that it can't be done.

And the final words of Jack Layton's letter, which stand on their own . . .

"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."

Click Here for a full transcript of Jack Layton's letter.

Hey!!  I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click Here to See WACHOOKANDU.


  1. he said it so well....positive through and through. Thanks for taking today to point out Jack's memory and his hope for our future!

  2. Thanks for this, Sean.

  3. Sean D. Krausert, EditorAugust 23, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    It occurs to me that people die, but ideas do not. Thanks to Jack, several ideas to benefit those most vulnerable in our society were given life . . . and they shall continue even now that he is gone.