hendelar

sometimes you just gotta' row

political. legacy, not so much.

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A premature loss of life bears inherent sadness for a variety of legitimate reasons. Canada’s national press is gratefully alight, finding newsworthy material in a series of staged events acknowledging the first anniversary of the unfortunate death of former leader of the federal opposition party, Jack Layton.

Jack Layton was a politician. He oozed his way into the leadership role of an also-ran political party at a time when the country was weary of one of the two parties that, historically, have occupied the respective positions of party in power and official opposition.

Mr. Layton served as Member of Parliament for my former Toronto constituency, ostensibly representing my interests in parliament. During his earlier years in politics, I witnessed his self-serving efforts in Toronto City Hall as a Councillor. I saw him shamelessly stumping in the limelight of neighborhood fund-raising events. He did the things politicians do in a way that only certain politicians can.

In left-leaning political history, Tommy Douglas’ design of a national health care program or Pierre Trudeau’s efforts to establish a charter of rights and freedoms, forming the beginning of Canada’s constitution, are genuine milestones, independent of political bent, and deserving of being remembered as the stuff of legacy.

Layton was a politician who led a party that is now exploiting human sentimentality for the benefit of the party’s visibility.

By definition, a legacy need not be accompanied by virtue. In this case, though, it ought to be accompanied by a footnote.

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Written by glh

August 22, 2012 at 11:53

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