“Jack”, the new biopic on the late Jack Layton, tells the story of romance and politics behind the charismatic NDP leader. It premiers on Sunday, March 10 on CBC.
August 20, 2011
Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.
This week’s soup is a feel-good mix of Canadian pride, commemorative stamps, a snow-less winter, and a puffin who was lost, then found. Happy holidays!
The first day of winter, also the shortest day of the year, known as winter solstice, was celebrated all over the world this week on December 21. Wiccans celebrated Yule; Druids gathered at Stonehenge, and in Macedonia, people gathered at the Kokino megaobservatory to see ancient stone marks that track the sun and moon’s movements. So, winter is officially upon us! [CBC]
Jack Layton’s last letter to Canadians was, as everyone was told from the very beginning, a collegial affair. Layton, party president Brian Topp, chief of staff Anne McGrath, and his wife and colleague Olivia Chow all had input into the final draft.
The letter was hortatory rhetoric, defined as writing that encourages its audience to pursue, or not pursue, some course of action rather than another.
With the passing of Jack Layton last week we’ve lost a charismatic and engaging leader and a strong voice for our country. We’ve also lost one of our biggest advocates for young Canadians. One of the things I loved the most about Jack was his commitment to engaging young people and encouraging their participation in politics. I became involved with the NDP while studying at the University of Ottawa. In September 2006 I went down to a small bar on campus where Jack and his wife Olivia Chow were coming to talk to students. There was no election on and no campaign in sight; they were just taking time to check in.
Our friend and contributor to The Canadian Encyclopedia, Alan Whitehorn of the Royal Military College of Canada, explains the significance of Jack Layton’s legacy and the unique role of the New Democratic Party in Canada on Radio Canada International. Some highlights:
On August 22, 2011, Jack Layton, the leader of the New Democrats, died after a brief and aggressive battle with an unnamed cancer. He was 61. Just months before, he led his party to unprecedented electoral success, becoming the Official Opposition in this year’s federal election in his last amazing race.
Everything about Jack Layton’s rally at Montreal’s Olympia Theatre, the biggest campaign event ever staged by the NDP in Quebec, had a sort of retro flair. There was the 1925 theatre itself, with its rococo red-and-gold plaster details. There was the lead-on band, the aptly named Quebec group Tracteur Jack, which played hopped-up swing. When Layton made his grand entrance, wading through a roaring crowd of more than 1,200, jauntily wielding the wooden cane he carries after hip surgery, he leapt to the podium like a barnstorming politician of old. Now that he’s 60, that signature moustache, which once recalled the disco era, looks more like a tribute to his social-democratic forebears. Some of his applause lines have a time-honoured left-wing ring, too. “A prime minister’s job,” he declares to cheers, “is to make sure the government works for those who have elected him, and not for big corporations.”