Conservative MP Mark Strahl recalls a fleeting moment with Jack Layton.
I only had the opportunity to speak with Jack once during the spring session of Parliament, before his revelation that he would need to step aside to deal with cancer once again. I happened to be leaving the House of Commons at the same time as he was after some late night votes. He was at the members’ entrance-with his signature cane and signature moustache- and I took the opportunity to introduce myself. Even at that time it was clear that he wasn’t feeling too well, but he flashed his signature smile, gave me a strong handshake and welcomed me as a new MP. He shared with me his fondness for my dad, wished me the best and asked me to pass along his regards to Chuck. I said that I would, wished him well and we parted ways. It was a short, but meaningful personal encounter and I think that’s what made Jack successful as a politician. He no doubt had many meaningful, personal encounters with hundreds of thousands of Canadians from coast to coast, and like me, they probably were left with a positive impression.
Further thoughts from Stephen Lewis, Rev. Brent Hawkes, Perrin Beatty, Martin Deschamps and Gerald Hannon. The Star asks readers to suggest how Toronto might honour Mr. Layton’s memory.