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Thread: Prayers for Jack Layton, please

  1. #1
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    Prayers for Jack Layton, please

    He is the leader of the New Democratic Party in Canada, which blew everyone away by forming the official opposition to the Stephen Harper's majority government in the last election.

    He is very well liked, even if one doesn't agree with his politics. He fought the last election following treatment for prostate cancer, and hip surgery for a slight fracture.

    He is stepping aside as leader til September as a new non-prostate cancer has been found. People of all political persuasions are hoping for a fast recovery. Sadly, I have a bad feeling about this. His voice was often strained and hoarse as he spoke today at a news conference.

    Cancer sucks!

    Before:

    Now:

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/jack-layton...181652051.html



    He arrives at the news conference with his cane:


    OTTAWA - Only three months after riding Jack Layton's personal popularity to a historic electoral breakthrough, New Democrats are confronting the tragic possibility that they'll have to soldier on without their charismatic leader.

    A frail, raspy-voiced Layton, who has been battling prostate cancer and a recent hip fracture, announced Monday that he's been diagnosed with a new form of cancer.

    The 61-year-old said he's taking a temporary leave of absence in order to "focus on treatment and recovery." The party is to appoint an interim leader — Layton is recommending the slot be filled by newly elected Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel — on Thursday.

    Layton would not reveal what kind of cancer he has or what treatment he is undergoing. But he struck a resolutely optimistic tone, saying he expects to be back in the House of Commons on Sept. 19.

    "I'm going to fight this cancer now so I can be back to fight for families when Parliament resumes," he told a surprise news conference in Toronto.

    "If I have tried to bring anything to federal politics, it is the idea that hope and optimism should be at their heart," he added.

    "I am as hopeful and optimistic about all of this as I was the day I began my political work many years ago. I am hopeful and optimistic about the personal battle that lies before me in the weeks to come. And I am very hopeful and optimistic that our party will continue to move forward."

    Privately, NDP insiders were shocked by Layton's appearance and how much he's deteriorated since his last public appearance on July 3. The once trim, athletic leader was gaunt and pale, his voice weak and hoarse.

    His Ottawa staffers were informed of the announcement at a meeting 15 minutes before the news conference. Initially, one insider said staffers were pleased to hear that Layton — who campaigned vigorously with a cane during the spring election just weeks after undergoing hip surgery — was finally taking time to take care of his health.

    But as they watched the televised news conference, the insider said: "You could see hearts sinking in the room because the visual was very hard."

    Party president Brian Topp, one of Layton's longtime top advisers who joined the leader and his wife Olivia Chow at the news conference, acknowledged the obvious.

    "I think you can see, as I did, that Jack has lost a lot of weight and obviously we're very concerned about him," Topp said.

    "It's clear that it's serious, there's no doubt about that."

    Still, Topp added: "If you look at what he's accomplished already, I wouldn't bet against Jack Layton. Jack Layton has a habit of taking on tough battles and winning them."

    Layton's health is a paramount concern for the leader's tight-knit inner circle, who refer to him familiarly as "Jack" and regard him as a close friend. But there's a political dimension to their worry as well.

    For the May 2 election, the party had rebranded itself as "Jack Layton's NDP," cashing in on the leader's personal popularity. His cheerful, moustachioed visage was plastered on every NDP campaign poster; he was front and centre in every ad.

    The party soared to a second place finish with 103 seats, becoming the official Opposition for the first time in its 50 year history. "Smiling Jack's" personal appeal was particularly strong in Quebec, which delivered 58 of its 75 seats to the NDP.

    The party has set its sights on replacing Stephen Harper's Conservatives as government in the next election. But if Layton is not at the helm, it may have trouble hanging on to the gains made in the last election.

    "He's certainly the New Democratic Party's most charismatic asset," said Ian Capstick, a former press aide to Layton.

    Prior to Layton, Ed Broadbent was the NDP's most popular and successful leader, taking the party to 43 seats in 1988. When he retired, the party collapsed, falling to nine seats in 1993 under the leadership of Audrey McLaughlin.

    Capstick argued the party won't backslide again when Layton exits the leadership, whenever that should happen. He said Layton has devoted himself to building a "modern political machine" with solid finances and a strong organization, and that will outlast his leadership.

    "All is not lost without him because of the building that he's done," Capstick said.

    There is, however, no potential successor on the horizon who can come close to Layton for sheer likeability. In opting to recommend Turmel as interim leader, Layton seemed intent on ensuring that leadership jockeying doesn't start prematurely rending his newly enlarged, Quebec-heavy caucus.

    He did not choose deputy leader Thomas Mulcair or other prominent MPs, such as Paul Dewar or Libby Davies, who are likely to be leadership contenders. Turmel is a neutral choice and someone likely to have the support of caucus, which has already unanimously chosen her as caucus chair.

    Caucus is to be consulted about the choice of interim leader on Wednesday, with the party's federal council making a final decision by mid-afternoon Thursday.

    While Layton insisted he'll be back on the job Sept. 19, Topp said the party will give him as much time as he needs to recover.

    Layton revealed Monday that he "suffered from some stiffness and pain" during the closing days of the spring parliamentary session in late June. Once Parliament broke for the summer, he underwent a battery of tests at Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital and was informed last week that he has a new form of cancer.

    Topp said Layton was in hospital last week for a period of time but is now at home. He defended the lack of transparency about the leader's health, arguing that Layton is entitled to maintain privacy about his personal health.

    As recently as last week, party officials insisted Layton hadn't been seen in public lately because he was simply on vacation and that there were, in the words of one, "no health issues to report."

    Princess Margaret released a statement saying only that "recently, new tumours were discovered which appear to be unrelated to the original cancer and Mr. Layton is now being treated for this cancer."

    Good wishes for a speedy recovery instantly poured in to the NDP's website and over social media. Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement, saying he's "deeply saddened" to learn of Layton's latest illness.

    "I salute the courage Mr. Layton continues to show in his fight against cancer, a fight that more and more Canadians are winning. We are all heartened by Jack's strength and tireless determination, which with Mr. Layton will never be in short supply," Harper said.

    Liberal Leader Bob Rae also lauded Layton's courage.

    "We know that Jack is an incredibly resilient man who does not give up a fight. During the last election, he showed an incredible courage in the face of health challenges."

    Layton tweeted a characteristically hopeful message later Monday, thanking Canadians for their outpouring of good wishes.

    "Your support and well wishes are so appreciated. Thank you. I will fight this — and beat it."
    "Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get." -- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

  2. #2
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    Australia
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    Poor bugger. This is happening to my best friend right now.


    "I'm Back !!"

  3. #3
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    I'm so sorry. Prayers for Mr. Layton as he fights this battle.
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  4. #4
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    He didn't make it :`(





    No matter what their political beliefs, all are truly mourning the death of a good and decent man. He was only 61.

    Rest well, Jack.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgar...-obituary.html

    Jack and his wife Olivia with grandaughter Beatrice:





    Wom, I hope your buddy wins his battle.
    "Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get." -- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

  5. #5
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    Jack died at 4:45 am Eastern time on Monday August 22. Two days prior - on August 20 - he wrote a letter to be released upon his death. It is worth a read. He was really like this.

    August 20, 2011, Toronto, Ontario

    Dear Friends,

    Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

    Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.
    I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

    I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

    A few additional thoughts:

    To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don't be discouraged that my own journey hasn't gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

    To the members of my party: we've done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let's continue to move forward. Let's demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

    To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

    To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada's Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

    To young Canadians: 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. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

    And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one - a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world's environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don't let them tell you it can't be done.
    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.

    All my very best,
    Jack Layton
    Last edited by Catty1; 08-22-2011 at 07:39 PM.
    "Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get." -- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

  6. #6
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    I heard on the radio this afternoon that he'd passed away. Deepest sympathy to his family and all who love him.

    What an amazing letter he left! And what an amazing political statement, written as he contended with a much more brutal fight than another election campaign.

    Rest in peace, Mr. Layton.
    I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
    Death thought about it.
    "Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."

    -- Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

  7. #7
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    Jack as a Toronto city councillor about 1986:

    "Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get." -- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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