Crowder remembers Layton’s legacy of hope

For Jean Crowder, the death of NDP leader Jack Layton was akin to losing a family member.

Jack Layton presents Team Ontario with silver medals during the 2008 North American Indigenous Games in Duncan.

Jack Layton presents Team Ontario with silver medals during the 2008 North American Indigenous Games in Duncan.

For Jean Crowder, the death of NDP leader Jack Layton was akin to losing a family member.

Cowichan’s MP spoke with the News Leader Pictorial hours after Layton’s death was announced Monday, in between fielding phone calls and emails from well-wishers and others offering condolences.

A somber Crowder reflected on Layton’s legacy.

“I think his legacy of taking the NDP to the Official Opposition will absolutely be remembered,” said Crowder, “but also I think his legacy will be around optimism and hope. It’s the first time I’ve seen it in politics in a long time, and I think that will also be remembered.”

Layton, who lost his battle with cancer in the early hours of Aug. 22, gained status as leader of the Official Opposition after the May 2 election — a first for the federal New Democrat party.

“Jack’s incredible drive and spirit brought the party to where it is today, and I think in part, he was successful for a couple of reasons,” Crowder said.

“He put together a great team, both of MPs and staff — he recognized this was a team effort.”

He also brought what Crowder called “a new energy and optimism to politics.”

“That’s one of the things that resonated with so many people — and it showed you could do politics differently, and win,” she said. “I think that’s a real gift, and I think in part why we’re seeing such outpouring (of grief for Layton’s death), because that isn’t always present in other leaders nationally, and people want that; there’s a hunger for that.”

Crowder also attributed Layton’s popularity to his “everydayness.”

“People call him Jack. They don’t call him Mr. Layton. He had that openness,” she said.

“He cared. He cared and wasn’t afraid to say he cared, and to show it. And even if people disagreed with his politics, they knew he was coming from a really heartfelt, genuine place, and you can’t fake that.”

Politicians of all stripes have also been sharing kind words about Layton, including Crowder’s most recent political opponent, Nanaimo-Cowichan Conservative candidate John Koury.

“Politicians like Mr. Layton inspire me,” he said in a statement. “He worked hard and it takes a lot of hard work to be successful. He was a great adversary who I respected and he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and supporters.”

And while it’s too soon to tell how the NDP will proceed with the loss of its leader, Crowder pointed to Layton’s letter penned to Canadians the day before he died.

“In his letter he left to everybody,” she said, “he encouraged us to continue with the work he’s done, and I fully intend to do that.”

Just Posted

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

CVRD to increase enforcement after audits reveal that curb-side recycling contamination in the district is well above acceptable limits. (File photo)
CVRD reports contamination in recyclables well above acceptable levels

Increased enforcement planned starting this summer

A conceptual rendering of the commercial plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road. (Town of Ladysmith/June 15 Council Agenda)
Rocky Creek commercial plaza passes public hearing

The proposed plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road would bring commercial activity to Ladysmith’s north end

A person stands in a tower on the perimeter of the Number 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on April 23, 2021. Human rights groups and Western nations led by the United States, Britain and Germany accused China of massive crimes against the Uyghur minority and demanded unimpeded access for U.N. experts at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 denounced by China as “politically motivated” and based on “lies.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Schiefelbein
VIDEO: Trudeau demands truth from China about Uyghurs

PM says Canada has admitted broken Indigenous relationship, unlike China on Uyghurs

CELEBRATING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY
Council members and witnesses from the Hupacasath First Nation, left, and Tseshaht First Nation, right, prepare to raise their respective flags in front of Port Alberni City Hall on Monday, June 21, 2021. The flags will permanently fly as part of the city’s reconciliation work. See more coverage from the flag raising ceremony on page A5. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Vancouver Island First Nations flags to fly permanently at city hall

Addition of flags are one Port Alberni response to reconciliation

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, middle right, participates in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honour of the launch of Kelowna’s plasma donor centre at Orchard Plaza Mall on June 22. From left to right: Canadian Blood Services’ business development manager Janna Pantella, Canadian Blood Services’ operational excellence manager Tyler Burke, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Canadian Blood Services’ centre manager Janine Johns. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
B.C.’s first dedicated plasma donor centre opens in Kelowna

The Kelowna location is the third dedicated plasma donor to open in Canada

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk in the classroom and in the community identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

Most Read