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Jack – and the Liberal Democrats

Monday, August 23, 8 a.m: last night I wore socks for the first time in many days, and this morning, I have on a light little jacket. There’s a sharp tone in the air, a warning – it’s coming, the end of summer. But it’s a gorgeous day, and to celebrate, I’m going to go to the 9.30 a.m. yoga class at the Y, find my inner peace for today. On the calendar, I see the most heavenly spectacle for the week ahead: absolutely nothing. A student tonight, a friend on Tuesday, Carol’s class on Wednesday – and otherwise, me at my desk or on the deck, drinking in the view.

12.30 p.m. Sad, sad, sad. As soon as I arrived at the Y, a woman changing near me asked if I had heard the news about Jack Layton. And soon, that’s all everyone was talking about everywhere – I came home to a message from my daughter, an email full of grief from Chris in Vancouver.
Jack Layton was a phenomenal leader, born for politics in the best sense – an old-fashioned, decent, honest, incredibly hard-working, intelligent and compassionate man. I’m tempted to write, “We shall not look upon his like again,” but I’m praying that’s not true.
I was working once with Olivia Chow, his extraordinary wife, when we needed a bit of arcane information. “Call Jack,” she said, so I did, and asked him – I think it was about carbon emissions. Without hesitation, he delivered a stream of facts, statistics and details, and then he went back to work and so did we.
Yesterday I went to the annual Liberal picnic in Cabbagetown, organized by Bob Rae and Glenn Murray for their constituents. I found Bob and said, “Here are two words for you – merger and taxes.” The left has to merge, I said – the right has done it and looks invincible. The left is split three ways; our future is hopeless unless we find a way to merge. (See the fantastic article by Warren Kinsella about the last election in this month’s Walrus – though an aide of Bob’s warned me that he and Warren do not get along, so I didn’t quote it.)
Bob said, “I agree with you – but we need to see how Jack’s health holds up.”
I wonder what he knew.
Then I said, “Taxes. We have to take that word back from the Republicans. One politician, just one, has to have the courage to stand up and say, ‘Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.'” He agreed with that too.
Now would be the ideal time for the Liberals and the NDP to merge, as both need to find a new leader. Let them unite and find someone acceptable to both; let them move forward as the Liberal Democrats or the New Liberals. Surely that’s the only way to take the country back from hideous Harper and his hideous minions. That way, something good would come from the tragedy of Jack’s death.
I know, the chances are practically nil. But a girl can hope.
You are mourned and needed and missed, Jack Layton.

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2 Responses to “Jack – and the Liberal Democrats”

  1. Lyn says:

    Beth,
    I've had that same thought myself. The Liberals have been flailing, leaderless, in the wind and have not gained any traction since Ignatieff's defeat. I think the party has a strong social democratic core and the time is perfect for the two parties to dovetail into a strong political force. We really need to swing the pendulum back from the right. It occurred to me yesterday as I watched the truly inspiring celebration of life that Jack got the last laugh. He got a Conservative government to foot the bill for a 95 minute NDP ad! Maybe something good from all of this will emerge after all!

    Love your blog.
    Lyn

  2. beth says:

    Lyn, I agree 100% – yesterday, watching Harper and his gang listening to the eulogies, the outpouring of love and respect – it was a marvel. It was the best of Canada; made me proud, as I have not been proud this last while, especially after the election of Rob Ford. Let's hope that this momentum lasts – that's the real test.
    Thanks for writing. I enjoyed looking at your blog too, and looking at your wonderful photographs.
    b.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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