Maybe there are Canadians who knew Jack Layton, who died yesterday, and have something bad to say about him. But I rather doubt it. From this Yankee's distant viewpoint he was a gentleman of the Left who gave a fervent, yet happy, sheen to Canadian politics. The Hubert Humphrey of Canada's New Democrtatic Party, Layton was a gallant champion of labor and the disaffected. He managed in the last election to oust the Liberal Party as the nation's Loyal Opposition and did so while still suffering from cancer.
Indeed, as the campaign proceeded, Layton seemed bouoyed by the crowds, nearly throwing away his cane. He savored Parliamentary life and reveled in campaigning.
Only 61, Layton will long be honored by the Canadian Left as a heroic standard-bearer, and by everyone else as an exemplar of the worth of democratic politics. As Canada graces the free West, Layton graced Canada.
The Conservative Government of Canada should gieve, especially. They may not again have such a worthy opponent.