Canadian politics and society are all abuzz today with the passing of the leader of the Opposition of Canada’s 41st Parliament, New Democrat Party leader Jack Layton.  Layton’s battle with cancer ended this morning (Monday August 22nd 2011) after his leave of absence nearly one month ago from active politics.  This man will be sorely missed by the nation for his commitment to the nation and for everything he has done to change the face of politics in Canada.

Politics is a touchy subject for many, igniting passions and tongues to say and do things often unkind and in reality dispassionate for the situation.  This goes for your average Joe on the sidewalk downtown, the agriculturalist in Saskatchewan, or your government representative.  In Canada it has been an ongoing battle to subdue heckling in the House of Commons, and I am proud to say that there has been a movement recently to proceed in our political machine to be more polite and kind during the question period.  The goal is to eliminate the phrase “words were exchanged” from the Parliamentary minutes and to conduct our government with civility and decorum, regardless as to their party lines, alliances, or .  And Jack Layton, until recently, has been there spearheading the movement for the past while, although I’m sure that he would be first to admit that it wouldn’t be an easy transition.

His final words have been circulating around the internet and at the risk of jumping on the bandwagon, I believe that they are worth re-posting here.  Not for the Gentleman’s, the Feline’s or my own affiliation, but for the meaning that lies behind them in reference to etiquette in the real world.  Layton’s final words in his address to the Nation and the NDP affiliates were poignant and direct and at least for me, encompass how I see etiquette functioning for positive change.

img src - - Jack Layton, 1950-2011

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. – Jack Layton