No one can truly say they were surprised by the news of Jack Layton’s death this morning of cancer after having seen his last public appearance in July announcing that he would temporarily step aside from leadership of the NDP to battle his cruel illness; and yet, strangely enough, word of his passing still manages to come as a sudden shock. It’s almost hard to believe that Layton’s impassioned voice will no longer be heard from, given that it’s been enlivening and energizing political debate in this country for so many years.
As a politician, Jack Layton was something of a force of nature; both as a relentlessly scrappy fighter and as a charismatic charmer. He will certainly be missed, not only by the party to which he had become so closely identified with in recent years, but the millions of working families and ordinary Canadians of lesser means who Layton tirelessly campaigned for.
Update: CBC coverage of Jack’s political life and legacy.