Tuesday, August 23

yesterday today tomorrow

Jack Layton, leader of the NDP party, the Official Opposition in Canada’s Parliament, died yesterday, succumbing to cancer.

Even among much, much better company than the politicians that populate any House of Parliament (perhaps ours especially) I think he would have stood out as a person of integrity. That’s a rare thing.

He will be missed. Rest in Peace, Mr. Layton.

In Libya, the rebels have Gaddafi on the ropes. Matter of time, they say now, like Saddam while he hid in holes in the ground. The most telling headline I read was “Qaddafi loses, but who will emerge the winner?” The article talked about who would assume power, but the subtext was clear:

Here comes the new boss, probably same as the old boss.

Canada loses one of its very few politicians of integrity and the world watches Qaddafi fall only to question how much things will change. Sounds dark and pessimistic.

And yet I’m not pessimistic. Not in general. I am about Canadian politics, and about world politics, and the things that will rush in to fill the voids left by tyrants deposed by means of violence, but I also see more and more people choosing compassion, love, empathy.

Fighting from a position of integrity and compassion (say, like Mr. Layton mostly did) takes longer – there aren’t any of those frustrating short cuts that the power-hungry are so ready to exploit – but the gains, the change, will last when that time comes because we’ll have had to change as a civilization, a species, to achieve it.

I wish Mr. Layton could have seen that happen.