Sunday, August 23, 2015

Remembering Jack Layton and the New Orange Tsunami

It's hard to believe that it's now been four years since Jack Layton died, and the hopes of so many turned to sadness.

And yesterday evening, when I returned from the island to the ferry dock named after him, I paused for a moment before this statue in my neighbourhood.

I didn't stay long because I pass the statue almost every day. Anything I had to say I said long ago. Like thank you, or how cruel life can be.

But I did stay long enough to think that wherever that happy warrior's spirit roams, it must be singing. 

Because the orange wave he created in Quebec, is now becoming an orange tsunami. 

A CROP survey conducted for La Presse suggests that the NDP wave in Quebec is taking on the dimensions of tsunami, and anyone else hoping to make gains in this province is in danger of getting swamped.

The survey suggests the NDP enjoys 47 per cent support in Quebec — a staggering 27 percentage points ahead of the federal Liberals and, relatively speaking, light-years ahead of the Bloc Québécois (16 per cent) and Conservatives (13 per cent).

And boosted by that massive show of support, and gains elsewhere in Canada, the NDP now has a real chance of forming the next government. 

In Quebec, what was once called a fluke is now an established political reality. The NDP have replaced the Liberals as the federalist or Canada party. 

And the Bloc, despite the return of Gilles Duceppe, appears to have run out of gas...

To the great disappointment of Stephen Harper, who was hoping it would split the vote and allow him to grab more than a miserable handful of seats in that province. Instead of also going nowhere.

Now it must be said that part of the reason Quebecers are flocking to Tom Mulcair's NDP in such huge numbers, as Chantal Hébert points out, is their burning desire to defeat the Harper Cons.

CAP-AUX-MEULES/ÎLES-DE-LA-MADELEINE—On election night 2011, it is on the tiny archipelago of the Magdalen Islands — a 12-hour boat ride from mainland Quebec and one time zone ahead of the rest of the province — that the orange wave first washed ashore.

Four years later it is as good a place as any to spot a different second orange wave in the making. This one is propelled not so much by undying affection for Thomas Mulcair or by a deeper ideological attachment to the NDP but by an overwhelming collective desire to effect regime change in Parliament on Oct. 19.

Just like they rushed to support Jack Layton, the guy they called "le bon Jack" in the last weeks of the last election...

I also should say, on the fourth anniversary of his death, that I am way too left-wing to have ever agreed with everything Layton said. Or for that matter be properly represented by any political party in this country. 

So I never regarded him as a political giant, or as some demi-god after he died.

I remember him as a happy warrior who fought hard for many of the causes and all  the values I believe in... 

A Canadian for all seasons, or just the friendly, decent leader who I would see all the time cycling through my neighbourhood with his wife Olivia.

But this I must also say. No politician I have ever known has ever triggered such an outpouring of emotion like this one...

Or inspired so many young Canadians...

And no words or speeches from any politician have ever moved my rough rebel spirit as much as these gentle mushy ones...

Because although, like the people of my province, my main priority is the total and absolute destruction of the ghastly un-Canadian Con regime and its depraved leader by whatever legal means necessary, I too need to believe in something better.

I want to believe that in this broken ageing country where so many are so greedy and so grubby, and a corrosive cynicism rules, that idealism still means something.

So in that regard I am happy to report that Jack's statue in my neighbourhood has to be the most popular statue in Canada.

With its seat and handlebars worn shiny by all the people who want to ride with him...

And believe me, on the glorious day when the Cons are defeated, I'll be whizzing down there on MY bike to be the first to give him the good news.

And if I could tell him that Canada had turned orange, that would be a bonus eh?

So Jack lives on.

And hope never dies...

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  1. Anonymous6:03 AM

    I Want To Make The World Turn Around - Steve Miller Band

  2. I guess to each their own. I never found Layton to be the great man that so many thought he was. His coalition with Harper in bringing down Paul Martins government, given that Martins budget included much of what the NDP wanted, revealed a man who would satisfy his own needs of wanting to be PM, over the needs of the country. We saw how that turned out.

    1. A fact conveniently forgotten by NDP partisans. Another flag of convenience fervently flown? That of Thomas Mulcair being some sort of left-of-centre liberation from the evils of Harperism. Good luck with that.

    2. That Liberal bullshit meme never gets less stupid with time.

    3. Anonymous9:26 AM

      I agree with you Pamela MacNeil and I am sick at heart to think that Tom Mulcair could be our next Prime Minister. I am sorry, Simon, but Tom Mulcair scares me. I think of him as another Stephen Harper! He is arrogant and there are many things about him that are becoming obvious which indicate that he could be just another terror! Once again, Canadians have their heads in the sand and refuse to see the light. I can only cast my vote, that's all I can do and i will certainly do it.

    4. hi Pamela...As I said in my post I never thought Jack was a political giant, but he was a nice guy, and this is a tribute to the man, who did manage to inspire more young people than any other politician...

    5. hi you know I am not partisan, and on the anniversary of his death I'm just remembering the man. But polls suggest that most Canadians now believe that the NDP is the party of change, and at this point at least they are our best hope of bringing down the Harper regime...

    6. hi anon 9:26....well I don't feel the same way. As I said in my post no party really reflects my left-wing views. But I will support any party that will help defeat the Harper Cons. Everyone is free to vote for the candidate of their choice, but my party is the Anyone But Conservatives one. So make sure you make your vote count. And no, no leader in this country is as bad as Stephen Harper...

  3. Great post Simon,

    Layton should have been prime minister but for harpercon fraud. That statue though, is a fitting tribute to him. Decades from now, kids will be sitting there getting their pictures taken. Some will want to find out who he was.

    I still remember the loud cheers at the memorial when they mentioned his work to end discrimination against gays trying to find housing in Toronto. That's how progressives make impacts on people's lives.

    I can't think of a single thing that harper has done except to benefit the already privileged.

    1. hi thwap...thanks I'm glad somebody liked the post. And you're right Layton was a great friend of the LGBT community. And yes every week thousands and thousands of people pass his statue on the way to the ferry dock, and every time I go by, except late at night, people are riding his bike and having their picture taken...

  4. Anonymous9:32 AM

    Just a small insight in Tom Mulcair's character and it's not very reassuring.


  5. Anonymous9:43 AM

    With Tom Mulcair at the helm, is this what we can look forward to?

    1. hi anon...yes I saw that, and yes Tom Mulcair is not as left as I would want him to be. But that was years ago, it was said in the context of Quebec, Thatcher is long dead, thank goodness. Sadly Canada isn't as left of centre as many people imagine. And people who would dig up that old quote must be truly desperate. I don't tear down opposition leaders, and others should follow my example. There is only one enemy and his name is Stephen Harper....

  6. I love that statue - unfortunately I haven't been to Toronto since it was erected - and I adore the tuque and warm scarf people have dressed him in for wintertime. I hope someone thought to give him a rainbow scarf or flag for Pride.

    The only people who care about the quote - I'm one of them, and I'm very pissed off at Mulcair for saying anything positive about that evil !@#$%?& - are people who will vote NDP anyway, as there is nobody else we can vote for in the context. There's a lot I like in the Green programme, but I like my own MP Alexandre Boulerice very much (he is much more progressive than Mulcair, and like Layton always on his bicycle) and want to cast a ballot to rid us of the curse of Harperism and ecocidal development.

    1. hi know when I first saw the statue I wasn't sure what to think about it. But now I think it couldn't be a better way to remember Jack. And it is incredibly popular. As I said in my post thousands of people pass by it every week on their way to the ferry docks, and there is always somebody riding the bike and getting their picture taken. You're lucky to have Alexandre Boulerice as your MP, I think he';s great. In my riding we have Olivia Chow back again, and according to a recent poll she has a huge lead over her opponents.

  7. All the Liberals bemoaning how rightwing the NDP has become makes me laugh. To the right of the Liberal? Ooooookay then.

    Justin supports the XL pipeline, Mulcair opposes it, Justin Supported the Nexen take over by China, Mulcair opposed and demanded clearer rules on forguegn take overs of major Canadian companies, Mulcair wants to increase corporate taxes, the Liberals opposed that, Mulcair wants PR, Justin Trudeau voted against it, Justin Trudeau voted for manditory miniums on pot, Mulcair voted against it, Justin Trudeau spent most of his career supporting Steven Harper, Mulcair spent his federal career fighting and humiliating Harper.

    So your line of attack is laughable.

  8. Anonymous9:01 PM

    Hi Simon! Please believe me when I say that I am not trying to annoy you. I just want you to see this. I can't understand why voters can't see past Tom Mulcair. This is something a friend of mine wrote and I wanted to share it with you.

    It seems daily that the NDP attitude is replacing the Conservatives in stupidity, divisiveness and blind loyalty to a party that has produced nothing of value, especially in four years as the Official Opposition.

    The NDP are the only party that supports Harper Conservative election policies;
    * family and small business tax plans,
    * promises that don't take effect for years,
    * cap and trade which is a corporate land grab,
    * upping police presence and fines,
    * decriminalisation of marijuana which is supporting crime,
    * American style partisan politics and elected Senate,
    * attacking Liberals,
    * Vote pandering at any cost,
    * attacking rather than fixing the Senate,
    * change our Constitution for their own divisive agenda!

    Mulcair has already been in a number of scandals. He was offered money bribes but did not report to the Quebec police. Mulcair is for Mulcair and his goals for Quebec.

    In Parliament he tried to deny owing $2.75 Million for NDP election offices then tried to short change the tax payers in a deal.

    Mulcair is a Margaret Thatcher groupie supporting privatisation which is against Unions and accused of being a tyrant.

    Mulcair has continued to flip flop on issues, copying other parties plans, as he has no plan of his own with no Finance Minister yet; therefore avoiding the numbers and Leader debates. Just who is not ready?

    He seems to have problems with his memory, his health and does not appear fit for the job of PM.

    A PM of Canada should be responsible for unifying this country, respect for our Parliament, Supreme Court, Premiers, Provinces & Territories, upholding our Treaties and Constitution and a prosperous economy.

    Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have a great plan and are ready to unify this country and grow a green economy!
    smile emoticon

    Stop the manipulative take over of our government.
    Two sides of the same coin, please don't vote Conservative or NDP!

    Simon, I would love your opinion on this. Believe me when I say that I have the utmost respect for you. I love your blog and I have learned so much from you. It's just that it has gotten to the point where Tom Mulcair really scares me.

    1. hi anon...first of all don't worry about offending me. I encourage my readers to stand up for what they believe in, and this is a safe space for all progressives. Having said that I don't think you have anything to fear from Mulcair. I like Justin a lot. But all I care about in this election is making sure that whatever we do we defeat the harper Cons. After the election we can argue among ourselves about what we should do, but since it's almost certain that the NDP and the Liberals will have to work together, it will be a lot more pleasant. And I will be there, doing what I do now with my NDP and Liberal friends i.e. stopping them from killing each other.... ;)