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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