An Open Letter -The CAW Joins in Mourning the Loss of Jack Layton, and Remembering his Social Democratic Values

August 22, 2011, 12:35 PM EST

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The news of federal NDP leader Jack Layton's passing has deeply saddened CAW leaders, members and staff right across the country, as we mourn the loss of an inspiring political leader and a friend to working people and all those fighting for justice.

Jack Layton had a broad and truly inclusive vision for the country, which he pursued wholeheartedly with enthusiasm and optimism that was infectious. There can be no greater example than the party's success across Canada in the last election, particularly in the province of Quebec.

Jack's steadfast belief in equality and fairness made him an outspoken advocate for the poor, Canadian families, students, seniors and children. What people saw in Jack was a person who cared sincerely about their lives and would articulately speak up in their defence, on Parliament Hill or wherever the situation found him.

He captured our imaginations and encapsulated our hope that indeed as a country, we could do better. He inspired us to believe more was possible.

To NDP Members of Parliament:

Our hearts go out to you as you grapple with the death of a mentor and dear friend. The country is mourning along with you. On behalf of the CAW, we send to you our collective condolences for the untimely loss of Jack Layton.

Jack was an inspiring and unifying political leader, unparalleled in Ottawa in recent memory. Surely he must have ignited in each of you a passion for your community and country.

To be certain, Jack had great momentum through out the last federal election, but his appeal and strength were also rooted in the ideas he espoused. The hope that Jack Layton drew on in the last election is still with you and your party. The NDP is a crucial voice of conscience for Canada.  At Jack's passing, your voice of conscience is needed more than ever. Your efforts can and will make a difference in the direction of our country.

The union looks forward to working with whoever replaces Jack as the leader of the Official Opposition.  

To All Canadians:

The country has suffered a terrible loss with the death of Jack Layton.  Even many of those who never voted for Jack or a member of his party admired his ideas, his tenacity and conviction. He represented the best of Canadian values - fairness, equality, balance, courage and concern for one's neighbour.  He was but one human, but his persona was much larger.  We saw the best of ourselves in Jack and in his vision what was possible for the country.

Through out Canadian history, the NDP and progressives have made important advances for all citizens, regardless of their political leanings. As we mourn the loss of Jack Layton, we must also reflect on his vision for Canada and how we can endeavour to make some of his cherished ideas a reality.

Among the lessons Jack Layton gave us is the necessity of courage to dream bigger than what others believe to be possible and to pursue these dreams with great determination and passion.

Jack's memory will live on through the tireless work of all Canadians who choose to build a stronger, more equal and just society.


Ken Lewenza
National President

The CAW represents approximately 200,000 members across the country in 17 different economic sectors.

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