1 WHAT DO YOU SEE? It’s not surprising that Prime Minister Stephen Harper granted a state funeral to Jack Layton. The major unstated fear for the Canadian conservative movement would be some wingnut going rogue and saying/doing something that would unite the progressive centre/left around either the NDP or left Liberals. They already had a close call with Krusty the Klown. But I can’t help but feel that when Harper looks at the genuine warmth and affection Canadians have expressed towards Layton and how he stuck up for the causes he believed in, and genuinely tried to make the world a better place, he’s going to think the same thoughts Richard Nixon had on his last night at the White House who he looked at a painting of JFK: ‘They see you and you represent everything they want to be. They see me and see themselves as they are.’
2 SPEAKING OF KRUSTY Now Magazine, a newspaper that can’t really be considered a friend of Jack Layton especially when the Liberal Party of Canada fell apart, leaving a giant vacuum in the progressive wing of Canadian politics. But this takedown of Christie Blatchford is probably the best I’ve found on the subject. Mel Watkins writes about what kind of man Layton was (Straight Goods), while the blog Origins of Politics takes a look at his electoral legacy.
3 THE GHOST OF JACK LAYTON’S POLITICAL STRATEGIST IS ASKING ‘WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU ON ELECTION DAY?’ If I was a conservative politician trying to rain on Jack Layton’s parade, I would ask this: sure, Layton was popular. Sure, he fought the good fight, or as the left and centre see the good fight. But he while he won inside his demographic – election to Toronto city council, an MP, leadership of the New Democratic Party – he didn’t win the big elections when it mattered. He twice ran for Toronto mayor, and lost, and though the party had a breakthrough in the last election, he was leader of the opposition. He seemed to do well a bully pulpits, but nobody seemed to trust him with, you know, actually governing. Why was that?
4 LYIN’ BRIAN AND … WHO, EXACTLY? One of the strange things I noticed – both on election night coverage and in the coverage surrounding Jack Layton’s death – was that Brian Mulroney seemed more willing to talk about the NDP’s electoral success in Quebec than Stephen Harper’s electoral success. Maybe it had to do with the fact that Layton’s father was a former Mulroney cabinet minister (Wikipedia) and his grandfather was an Quebec MNA in the Union National government.
5 GREEN I$ THE COLOR David Robert Loblaw has a much more interesting idea for a new Roughriders’ home – sell Mosaic Stadium to the Riders for $1 and let the Roughriders pay their own way for a new facility. (Loblaw 2012) If they want a new home, either leverage the land with the banks to redevelop it, or sell the land in exchange for the new stadium. This has been done many times with soccer clubs in Europe who want a new or a refurbished stadium. Betcha if that happened, the Roughriders would be suddenly talking about how wonderful Mosaic Stadium really is and it would be a waste to move anywhere else.
6 THE STRANGE RANGE? NOT THE STRANGE RANGE … I used to work at Yellowknife’s city paper, Yellowknifer, in 1988-89, just down the street from the Strange Range. The stories about that place were legion even then: it was so legendary that even in Yellowknife’s telephone directory it was listed both as the Gold Range and the Strange Range (which everybody in the city called it). Now Yellowknife city council wants to tear it down because it’s an eyesore, but it won’t do anything about the people – many of whom aren’t the civil servants and miners who keep the city’s economy afloat – who drank there, often to excess (Toronto Star).
YOUR MUSICAL MOMENT OF ZEN For no other reason that I was playing this constantly during reading stories about Jack Layton’s life and death, U2 at Slane Castle, 2001, playing One.