Today we morn the passing of NDP leader Jack Layton after a courageous battle with prostate cancer.
Though I often disagreed with Jack’s politics, I never questioned his integrity or sincerity. He was a man of principles in the often unprincipled business of Canadian politics.
And we did agree on some things.
Jack was a champion of gay rights . In the May 2011 election, Jack campaigned on the promise to halt any rollback of achieved LGBT rights, including spousal benefits and same-sex marriage. He was a fixture at Toronto’s gay pride parade for many years, including Pride 2011 in July, where he looked healthy and ready to take on the Conservative government in September.
Jack was also a strong pro-choice fighter, demonstrating in Toronto for women’s reproductive rights long before others – even those in the NDP – would take up the call. Jack worked to guarantee that abortion was a fully funded, universally accessible medical procedure in Canada and to protect the personal safety of physicians, personnel and patients at abortion clinics.
Jack was a fighter and an optimist until the end.
This is Jack’s final Letter to Canadians dated August 20, 2011.
To his wife Olivia Chow, his family, and to his colleagues and friends, I offer heartfelt condolences.
Jeffrey, The Gay Groom