Still mourning for Jack

Greatest Prime Minister Canada never had.

Here is a great little story someone wrote about Jack:

In 1993, I was in my second year of university in Toronto, living in the Ryerson residence on the 10th floor; one of those apartment-style spaces where five bedrooms shared a kitchenette, two bathrooms, and a living space. There was a federal election going on at the time, and one day there’s a knock at the door and I answer it and it’s a kid — well, somebody around my age, so a “kid” from my perspective now — asking how I’m going to vote.

So I tell him I don’t know and he asks if I’ve considered voting NDP and I say not really, and he says I should, and we have a short conversation, and I wind up asking him I-don’t-remember-what. I was being an ass at the time, I’m pretty damn sure, and probably just trying to stump this person for the sake of stumping them.

Whatever it was, I stumped him. And he says “hang on a minute, I’ll go get Jack.” And he leaves.

Five minutes later, another knock on the door, and it’s Jack Layton. He introduces himself and I invite him into my shitty residence common space and he comes in and sits down and we have a ten-minute conversation. I’m 20, I’m a shitty kid that doesn’t know anything about anything, and he comes in and sits down and treats me as seriously as a Fortune 500 CEO or a labour leader or whoever the hell.

On the way out, he gives me a tea towel with his picture printed on it, riding information, all that. I’m a bit baffled, and he says “I was thinking before the election of how wasteful all those posters are, and thought it might be a good idea if I gave people something useful for a change.”

I ask him if he’s aware — this I do remember — that people all over the riding are going to be wiping dishes with his face. He laughs and says that’s a risk he’s willing to take.

I voted for Jack. I’ve been voting NDP ever since that day.

And now I live in a riding with the youngest MP in the history of the nation, a 19-year-old that never expected to get elected and who is, I imagine, more than a little overwhelmed and probably a bit scared and was probably relying on Jack to give him good advice and sound counsel.

To treat him seriously.

I need to get out there and volunteer for this kid; to try to figure out how I can help make politics in this country better.

Godspeed, Jack Layton. Thanks for everything.
posted by Shepherd at 6:24 AM on August 22 [255 favorites]

original source:

note: I also started voting for the NDP that same year…never got those towels at the mac campus though…


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