You know the playbook on Canadians.  We are laid-back, reserved, undemonstrative, mildly socialistic,  usually back the United   States and when the chips are down we come on as dullards with phony humility just like Uriah Heep.

Well I  guess the emotional outpouring for Jack from coast to coast to coast put paid to most of the above.  I admit I  have never heard one of us talk about Canadian “exceptionalism.”  That is not our humility showing.  It just means we don’t buy into the American myth that God has chosen us to lead the rest of the world to freedom and salvation.  A second chosen people.  We will have none of that.

But bloodless and undemonstrative.  I don’t think so.  I never interviewed Jack Layton.  Never even met him.  So I was suprised to find myself choking up with emotion this past week as the tributes to Jack poured in from every corner of the country.

Mildly socialistic?  Did  you hear Stephen Lewis’ soaring speech and the part where he said, like Jack Layton, we must continue the work for social democracy.  Those words ignited a standing ovation.  Even Stephen Harper stood up.

“Jack, we hardly knew ye.”

But at the end we came to love  you.  RIP.

What does the outpouring about Jack Layton day about Canadians?

Were you emotionally touched?

Share with us.


  1. 1
    Barbara Says:

    Canada outdid itself this week. Canada showed the world what a politician could be and how a democracy can exist with respect for the opposing side. It stirred up hope for a better country among her young people. That is something they sorely lacked. I was in Ottawa on Wednesday and saw the huge lineup in front of the Parliament buildings.

    That said, Neil, did you have to spoil it all by making disparaging remarks about the USA? Canada doesn’t shine by looking better than the USA, it shines because it lives up to its ideals. Jack Layton lived that ideal with remarkable affability and character.

  2. 2
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Thank you for your moving comment. I think you are right about comment on the USA.

  3. 3
    jim Says:

    As I sit here in my Jack Layton Ogange shirt and pondering about his life, I turn to a poet, who is unknown to me, who wrote about what one can do to make a better life for themselves by taking emulating a person such as Jack.


    I read of a woman who stood to speak
    At the burial of a friend.
    She referred to the dates on the tombstone
    From the beginning—–to the end.

    She noted that first came his date of birth
    And spoke of the next date with tears,
    But she said what mattered most of all
    Was the ”dash” between those years.

    That dash represents all the time
    That he spent alive on earth….
    And now only those who loved him,
    Knew what that little line is worth.

    For it matters not,how much we own,
    The cars…the house…the cash,
    What matters is how we live and love
    And how we spend our “dash”.

    And so I thought about this long and hard…
    Are there things I’d like to change?
    For you never know how much time is left,
    That can still be rearranged.

    If I could just slow down enough
    To consider what’s true and real,
    And always try to understand
    The way other people feel.

    If we treat each other with respect,
    And more often wear a smile…
    Remembering that this special “dash”
    Might only last a little while.

    So, when my eulogy’s being read
    With my life’s actions to rehash…
    Would I be proud of the things they say
    About how I spent my “dash”

    Bon Voyage Jack

  4. 4
    Neil McKenty Says:


    Thanks for sharing “Dash”. It adds another dimension to Jack’s life.

  5. 5
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    What does the outpouring for Jack Layton say about Canadians?

    That we are saps.

    Jack Layton represented the absolute worst of what being a Canadian is. No wonder we are in the sorry condotion that we are: celebrating the life of a man that planted the seeds for the very destruction of the country.

  6. 6

    The outpouring of respect & affection shows that the election sweep was not a fluke.

  7. 7
    jim Says:

    Tony – It must be cold out there, all alone

  8. 8
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    It’s a tough job, jim, but somebody’s got to do it.

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