The Loss of a True Ally – Jack Layton 1950-2011

It’s a sad day for Canadians. We are mourning the passing of NDP leader Jack Layton, who succumbed early this morning to cancer, after a hard-fought battle.

Jack Layton was a true believer in equality for all people. He was a strong supporter of women’s rights, gay rights, and AIDS awareness. Layton and his wife Olivia were fixtures at Toronto’s Pride parade for decades, including the most recent one this July.

He was also a powerful voice for the pro-choice movement, and was publicly fighting for women’s reproductive rights long before most other political leaders. He campaigned and fought to make sure that abortion was a fully funded, universally accessible medical procedure in Canada and he made it his mission to protect the doctors and patients at abortion clinics.

In his last statement about Toronto Pride, Jack said the following:

“I am proud to stand in solidarity with members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and transsexual communities. Let us not forget that LGBTT people around the world still suffer prejudice and discrimination, even to the point of violence and death. Our work is not done. We can dream of a world that includes members of the LGBTT as equal without a second thought.”

There are so few politicians in this world who insist on doing the right thing, which is why the loss of Jack Layton is such a huge loss to Canadians. In a final statement to the people of Canada, Jack Layton said this:

“My friends, 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.”