Jack Layton is a rare politician: a man of dignity, decency, and optimism, respected by all parties. For my non-Canadian friends, this is the man who led the left-leaning NDP party from a handful of seats to form the official opposition in parliament, a man who surprised everyone this election, sweeping the province of Quebec with his buoyant presence.
He campaigned with his cane after hip surgery. Before that he was open about his treatment for prostate cancer. Along with other Canadians, I was shocked and dismayed to see him at his press conference yesterday. He was obviously ill, thin, haggard, his voice changed–all just in the 2 months since the election. He said that the results from his prostate cancer checkup were fine, but another cancer had been discovered. He is undergoing treatment and currently taking a leave.
Jack’s wife, Olivia Chow, is the representative for my riding in Toronto. My heart goes out to Jack and Olivia. I wish him a thorough recovery. I wish Olivia strength and hope in the coming months. They are good people. They need all the prayers, support, good wishes, and kind thoughts we can provide.