Monday, August 22, 2011

Reason for hope

In keeping with Jack Layton's message of hope and optimism - expressed in his last letter as well as so many other times throughout his political career - let's take a moment to note that as much as the NDP will miss his leadership, it will also enjoy a rare opportunity in deciding who succeeds him as the party's permanent leader.

Most leadership races in established political parties take place at a point when a party is generally on a downward trajectory - either after it has fallen from government to opposition or in some other way missed a perceived opportunity to improve its standing, or after it has been in power long enough to face public fatigue even as it tries to renew itself.

In contrast, the NDP will get to choose its next leader from a position of unprecedented strength and hope, thanks to both Layton's electoral results and his means of reaching them.

Most obviously, the party built by Layton and his team over the past decade will provide a strong base for any new leader to work with. But it may be particularly significant that the race will take place in the midst of ample public optimism about the NDP as a whole - reflecting the positive message Layton has built during his time as leader - should offer a unique opportunity for leadership candidates to expand the party's reach.

Of course, the above isn't to say we shouldn't mourn the loss of a leader as skilled and beloved as Layton - and the NDP and his friends in the party will undoubtedly miss him in the years to come. But it's a testament to his work that the party is so well positioned to keep building on what he started. And as the party works through its grief, it's worth keeping in mind that there's every reason to maintain and strengthen the message of hope that Layton so brilliantly delivered in his lifetime.

1 comment:

  1. A great Canadian, may his legacy be a goverment as great as his vision.