Layton’s legacy one of hope and optimism, Greater Victoria MPs say

Layton, 61, stepped down as the New Democratic leader last month after revealing he was battling a second bout of cancer. The official opposition leader was frail and gaunt during an appearance July 25, after fighting off prostate cancer last year.

Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton campaigns in Victoria in April of 2011.

Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton campaigns in Victoria in April of 2011.

Hours after news spread of Jack Layton’s death Monday morning, Greater Victoria MPs were effusive with compliments for the former NDP leader.

Visionary, courageous, inspiring, boundlessly optimistic and doggedly determined were how Denise Savoie and Randall Garrison remember the man they both credit for getting them into federal politics.

“I feel like I’ve lost a friend and a leader, and I sense that Canadians feel sad, too,” Savoie said in a tearful interview Monday morning. “He was a guy who spoke from the heart, and that always came through.”

Layton, 61, stepped down as the New Democratic leader last month after revealing he was battling a second bout of cancer. The official opposition leader was frail and gaunt during an appearance July 25, after fighting off prostate cancer last year.

He led his party to a surprise showing in the May 2 election, helping the NDP win 103 seats across the country, up from 37 seats in the prior election.

“It was that dogged determinism he had that ‘this could be done, you just had to work at it,’ that was so inspiring to me,” said Garrison, MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca. “It’s that inspiration and boundless optimism of his – and I think that’s what a lot of people responded to.”

Shortly after his death, the NDP released a statement Layton reportedly wrote to Canadians while on his deathbed.

“You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future,” he wrote. “All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada.”

Savoie, MP for Victoria, says hope and optimism defined Layton, both as a politician and a friend.

“Jack was a bridge builder, and I saw that within the party and across Canada,” she said. “But Jack always said that what he was building was a movement – it was a collective effort. I hope we can carry on that vision because that’s what he left us, his legacy.”

Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May, leader of the Green party, released a statement saying: “Jack will always be remembered for his unfailing love of Canada and his dedication to this country and its citizens.”

Layton spent nearly three decades in politics, first as a city councillor in Toronto and then federally with the NDP.

Even in his final words, Layton’s stalwart optimism and steadfast direction for his party and country didn’t waiver.

“Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

See Our View: Layton inspired with his battles

.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Debra Sheets, a University of Victoria nursing professor, is starting Victoria’s first Memory Cafe program for adults with dementia and their caregivers. (Photo: Debra Sheets)
Memory Cafe Victoria hopes to connect local dementia community

Adults with dementia and their caregivers will participate in weekly Zoom socializing and activities

Several BC Ferries sailings are cancelled Friday due to adverse weather. (Black Press Media File)
UPDATED: All B.C. Ferries sailings cancelled due to wind, weather

Adverse weather causes cancellations across several BC Ferries routes

Metchosin council introduced a bylaw at a special council meeting Wednesday, which, if approved, would limit further subdivision of a 40-acre portion of the Boys and Girls Club property. The proposed bylaw amendment will come to public hearing on March 15. (Black Press Media file photo)
Metchosin council introduces bylaw to limit subdivision of Boys and Girls Club property

Proposed bylaw amendment will come to public hearing on March 15

The Habitat Acquisition Trust has secured a biodiverse 23-hectare parcel of land in Highlands through a donation from Anne and Jim Ganns, who owned the property for 50 years. (Photo by Jeremy Da Silva/Courtesy Habitat Acquisition Trust)
23-hectare land donation in Highlands extends permanent habitat protection

Anne and Jim Ganns pass on property purchased 50 years ago to the Habitat Acquisition Trust

The Sooke Fine Arts Show will be online again this year, showcasing unique artworks from Vancouver Island and B.C.’s coastal island artists from July 23 to Aug. 2. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke Fine Arts Show goes virtual for second year in a row

Art exhibition and show set for July 23 to Aug. 2

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Bryan Adams with his mom, Jane Adams Clark, at Lions Gate Hospital. (Bryan Adams)
Bryan Adams gives shout out to North Shore hospital

The singer’s mom was in Lions Gate Hospital for care

Shoppers will be able to get their hands on signed bottles of Ryan Reynolds’ new gin at B.C. liquor stores this summer. (Twitter/Ryan Reynolds)
Ryan Reynold’s new Aviation Gin autographed and coming to B.C. stores

This summer 100 bottles will be available to the public for purchase across five B.C. liquor stores

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Vancouver Island teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

An official investigation will be launched after VPD officers were recorded posing near a dead body at Third Beach on Wednesday morning, Feb. 24. (Screen grab/Zachary Ratcliff)
VIDEO: Vancouver officers under review for allegedly laughing, taking pictures next to dead body

Two officers were caught on video by a local beachgoer Wednesday morning in Stanley Park

Kim McGregor died in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run accident in Chemainus. (Photo submitted)
Victim identified in Valentine’s Day Chemainus hit-and-run

Kim McGregor grew up in Chemainus and had recently returned to be close to his parents

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
‘Stay local’: Dr. Henry shoots down spring break travel for British Columbians

B.C. is reportedly working with other provincial governments to determine March break policies

Most Read