On August 22nd, 2011, Jack Layton, Canadian politician and leader Canada’s official opposition passed away of cancer. While not all Canadians may have agreed with his political ideas or aspirations, his contributions to the Canadian political landscape cannot be disputed. Jack Layton was widely respected as a man of energy, optimism and enthusiasm for the Canadian democratic process. In his final letter to Canadians, Jack Layton had a special message 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 future.”
That Mr. Layton took the time to address young Canadians in such a manner embodies his respect for and hope in the young people of Canada. As Mr. Layton mentions, many great challenges lay before us. It will be up to the youth of today to find solutions to the problems of tomorrow. It is our hope that Mr. Layton’s words inspire young Canadians to learn about and become involved in the Canadian democratic process. Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Layton’s family and loved ones.