Jack Layton 1950-2011
Last Saturday I was drawn to Toronto for Jack Layton’s funeral.

As I stood outside Roy Thomson Hall with thousands of other Canadian’s, many wearing orange. I was proud to say I knew Jack Layton and was very sad it had come time to say goodbye so soon.

I met Jack for the first time when I was running for the NDP back in 2004. Jack made a lasting impression on both my life and my politics.

Walking around the streets of Toronto, looking at all the tributes to Jack Layton and talking to others. I discovered we all had a common bond. Jack in his efforts to make Canada a better place for us all had touched our lives in a very positive and personal way.

During the day everyone I met, even complete strangers were enthusiastic to share a story or talk about Jack. I met several people taking pictures, Owen McLeod a freelance photographer stood beside me for hours talking about Jack and why it was important to record the day’s events.

Another camera enthusiast was John Lin, a professor at Waterloo University. John said he felt it was important to be here and he was drawn like I was to Celebrate Jacks Life.

I would like to thank both Owen and John for sending me the attached photographs to share with you.

Jack Layton inspired us all, with his work ethic during his campaigns, his ability to listen to his constituents young and old, and through his courageous struggle with cancer. We can all learn a lot from Jack Layton.

What is truly remarkable is the fact that Jack continued to inspire us after his death. Jack left us with a parting message offering hope and support to those with cancer, challenging Canadian youth to help shape our Nation, and encouraged his Party to continue without him.

I hope that Jack Layton’s parting words to us can help accomplish his dream to unify Canada and make Canada a better place to live, for all.

“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.” (Jack Layton 2011)

In Solidarity, Wayne Gates

(Images courtesy of Owen McLeod and John C. Lin)
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