Monday, August 29, 2011

My Tribute to Jack Layton

I was as shocked as anyone by the passing of Mr. Layton, just a week ago now. Not altogether surprised, but the fact is that he was still in the public eye, and now he's gone. What did I think of him? Not much to be perfectly honest. I have not been a supporter of the NDP in my adult life, but if a bunch of people say what a great man he was, I'll just have to take their word for it. Never met him, cannot vouch for him.

However, he did a tremendous job as leader of the federal NDP. It may be argued that their showing in the last election can be attributed to the decline of the Liberal Party and the implosion of the Bloc Quebecois, Mr. Layton was, nonetheless, the first NDP leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, and the first leader of the opposition to die while holding that office in recent memory (has anyone had that distinction since Sir Wilfrid Laurier?), so in my opinion, his state funeral was perfectly appropriate.

Last week I started poring through the comments in Yahoo! News as I usually do, and was shocked at the callousness of some of the commenters. They fell just short of spitting on his grave, calling him a communist and otherwise attacking his politics. I was naively hoping that they would cease the personal attacks until at least his body is in the ground. I tried to make the point in an article (which is gone now) that Layton does not deserve this kind of animosity, particularly since he just died. That kind of bile should be reserved for serial killers and dictators like Khdaffy. Layton never did anything to deserve the kind of cheap shots he's been getting in the comment sections.

However, I started poring through the right side of the political sphere, as is also my wont, and they were quick to point out some really tasteless stuff about Stephen Harper, mostly along the lines of 'why couldn't it be him instead of Layton?'. Harper has done everything right regarding Mr. Layton's passing, but that really isn't the point here. As far as evil commentary, that takes the edge of anything anyone said negatively about Layton. I seldom agree with Harper's politics, but I would not wish him a headache. It's only political difference, shame on you for wishing any ill towards Harper. You did not pay any heed to what Layton said in his final address, and sullying his memory worse than his enemies did. Keep things in their proper perspective, and get a life.

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