Canada continues to mourn as one of its greatest political leaders has left us forever.

After a lengthy battle with cancer, beloved New Democrat Party leader Jack Layton has passed away. Layton died on August 22, 2011 at his home in Toronto surrounded by family and friends.

The popular politician was elected leader of the NDP in early 2003 with a focus on reinvigorating the party. Layton saw great success in his endeavours. Since 2003 NDP popularity has grown continuously. In the 2011 federal election the party saw unprecedented success claiming 105 seats in the House of Commons and, for the first time in party history, becoming the official opposition.

Throughout his political career the charismatic Layton remained a staunch supporter of working and middle class Canadians opposing corporate tax cuts and the privatization of Canadian health care. Layton was also widely accepted by Canadian youth due to his attempts to limit tuition and his willingness to treat Canadian youth as intelligent, engaged members of society instead of the apathetic wastrels some politicians see.

Regardless of your political beliefs, it is nearly impossible to argue what a great politician, and Canadian, Jack Layton was. Perhaps his final words to Canadians, as a nation, written just two days before his passing, can help to highlight his love for Canada and the world.

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

Rest in peace, Jack. Your work will always be remembered.

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