Over the last seven days, I’ve shared stories and tears with so many of you who have been inspired by the incredible life of our federal leader Jack Layton. The loss is devastating but sharing it together has helped ease the pain and shock.
Jack drew us together to create something special, to build something great. And Canada loved him for it. We saw that love written in chalk all over Toronto’s City Hall, lit in candles surrounding the Parliament building, waiting patiently to pay last respects, ringing bicycle bells, disguised as white mustaches taped on upper lips, and celebrated on placards all over the province.
In Toronto, we gathered at Roy Thompson Hall to commemorate an extraordinary life. In Ontario, New Democrats also gathered in public parks, in campaign offices, in backyards, in churches and in homes. And we gathered as a virtual community on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube with hashtags, tweets, wall posts and personal videos. Jack would have loved to see that.
We shared sadness but we also shared a sense of renewed commitment and inspiration. We remembered a man who challenged us to love, to hope and to embrace optimism. But, more importantly, to change the world.
We have an incredible legacy to live up to. Thanks to Jack, we know that we can do things differently. We can tackle the growing inequality that’s forcing so many families to fall behind. We can offer a better, healthier, greener future for our children. We can create good, sustainable jobs that don’t leave people living in poverty. We can build a better world.
Jack challenged us. “Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada…”
It’s up to us now. In just a few short weeks, we have an opportunity to meet Jack’s challenge. This is our chance to move forward in Ontario. We know that a better world won’t happen by accident. Everything we have achieved together was the result of thousands of hours of hard work, relentless organizing and a good dose of love, optimism and hope.
I know that we will carry on our shared values and shared vision forward. And I know that we are ready to meet the challenge.
We won’t let you down, Jack.
With love, hope and optimism,
Leader Ontario New Democrats