The late Jack Layton…

August 23, 2011

My response to Tammy Robert’s  “Open Letter To Christie Blatchford & The Witch-Hunters”

– – – –

Thanks for the post, Tammy. The first time that I read the Blatchford piece was through the reference in your post. Yes, the timing of the words/sentiments undoubtedly got under peoples’ skin. But these are words that needed to be said and needed to be heard but maybe not for the reasons one might think.

A ‘tireless campaigner” (and no one – no matter what side of the political spectrum you hang your hat – can fault him for that), Layton – to the end – used mastery of words and actions to ensure his political legacy in this country. It was his fight (political and physical), his death, and his right as far as I am concerned.

However, as Blatchford points out, when a death turns into a “…thoroughly public spectacle…” (i.e. Diana, Layton, etc) one does have to examine the motivations behind the gestures/actions of those left to “grieve”. In many cases, they seem (to me) to be disingenuous measures to leverage a tragedy for one’s own gain. Hmmmm… sounds strangely like politicking, doesn’t it? And we see this happen time and time again. 

I think that you hit the nail on the head, Tammy, when you posed the question “I wonder how governance would change if we were as kind to each other in life – quick to identify other’s strengths – as we are in death?” Food for thought. For everyone. As a society, we are moving up some crazy ‘grieving’ continuum to a ‘norm’ – as Blatchford states – that “once would have been deemed mawkish is now considered perfectly appropriate”. I think that Blatchford aptly referred to it as “mourning chaff”.

When the publicity of his passing dies down and everyone moves onto the business at hand (Libya, air plane crashes, etc), Layton’s legacy WILL live on. Not because of the outpouring of Layton-laden laments or diatribes that we heard yesterday (and likely in the many days to follow); words that have undoubtedly served to push other (often short-term) agendas along. No. Layton’s legacy will live on because he made a credible impact on Canadian politics. Plain and simple.

I think that both you and Blatchford put a mirror up in the front of the face of Canada with your discourses. I commend you for the points that you both made. With that, I applaud @kevinlibin who posted this Twitter in response to Blatchford’s column earlier today:

“If a column serves to distinguish a newspaper as not being in-the-tank w/ every other paper, it’s a worthy column, period.”



One thought on “The late Jack Layton…

  1. Personally, I feel that there are far more serious things at work here then merely focusing on political partisanship or arguments as to how long one should wait to write or voice opinions after one’s passing.Blatchford’s article is being read through the veil of strong emotion (right now) and – sadly – many miss the parts of the article where she commends Layton… i.e. “…what was truly singular about him was how consumed by politics he was and how publicly, yet comfortably, he lived.”Blatchford doesn’t criticize Layton himself, rather she criticizes how Layton’s death is handled (leveraged, dare I say ‘exploited’) by those around him and in the media. I truly see, as Blatchford suggests, that Layton – the man, his life and accomplishments – are lost in the media-scramble and the rhetoric.

Leave a Reply