Last night I had dinner with two middle-aged sisters, one lives in Maine, the other in South Africa.  Jack Layton’s name came up and they asked me to explain what was so special about him.

Not easy to do.  Impossible to quantify.  I first knew about Jack Layton when he was a  city  councillor in Toronto.  Frankly, at that time I thought he was a publicity hound and a bit of a flake.

But as he neared the end of his life, Jack had matured enormously.  He was a splendid NDP leader, driving his party to become the official opposition for the first time in itgs history.  He gave Harper a run for his money.  And there was much that he was now head of a government in waiting. Then, in the flick of an eye it was all snatched from him.  He was diagonosed with cancer and died a few months later.  The country as a  whole mourned his passing.

What was so special about Jack Layton?  As the political leader he was charismatic and gregarious, consider  his sweep of Quebec.  As a  man he exhibited enormous grace under pressure. Right to the end he never lost his sense of humour.

We salute him and revere his memory.

Was there anyone who inspired you in 2011?

Share and let us know.


  1. My children’s fight to squeeze themselves into the little maneuvering room our generation has left them with impressed me more than anything else.

  2. 2

    Bravo, Paul.
    But we also taught them to be flexible, broad minded, creative, courageous, and kind.
    Happy New Year!

    Neil: I agree with you about Jack Layton. I was luke warm and less all these years, but I admired him (and voted NDP) for the first time. I was really sad when he was losing the battle at the top of his game.

    My recent “admiration” was for the SQ and rescue teams who worked so hard in the ice cold and dark, determined to retrieve little Maxim Dion in Upton.
    The SQ are always under fire, but this was a testament to their devotion to serve the public. I hope they get much recognition!

  3. 3
    Peter Westenhangar Says:

    Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian fruit-seller, and Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian bloggger who kickstarted the Arab Spring.

  4. I also share your admiration for Jack and our polices forces in general, Littlepatti. I worked in close contact with them for 40 years and they do not, as a whole, deserve the bum rap they are getting in the media because of a few bad apples.

  5. 5

    I liked Jack Layton very much. He was one of those rarest of creatures…a politician who never lost his humanity and his next-door-neighborness. But I wouldn’t have voted for him in a million years, and he knew that, and it was okay with him. He wasn’t gonna leave the NDP to please me, either, and that was okay with me, as well.

    Lots of folks (and even some non-folks) have inspired me this past year, not the least among them my two newly-single-mother Sisters, who fought off all suggestions that they abort the fetuses they had decided to keep and change their entire lives around! That kind of emotional pressure (aka bullying), especially from blood-kin relatives, can wear a person down and ultimately make them sick. But they had made up their minds, and they forged ahead — CHOOSING their own paths! Way ta go, girls!

  6. 6
    Jim Says:

    Lady Janus – Did I inspire you this year?

  7. 7
    youngshoutman Says:

    Ai Weiwei, the chinese artist/activist,
    Aung San Suu kyi, the Burmese activist,
    and Jonny Wilkinson, the rugby player.

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