John Gilbert Jack Layton

He was born in Montreal in 1950
Was fluent in French and healthy
From proud father Robert Layton
To grand parent Gilbert Layton
Who too was dynamic and gung-ho
Who all held a ministerial portfolio
Raised as a true Canadian in Quebec in Hudson
Never dreamed of being a professor at Ryerson
In 1969 when he was just 19 yet he could afford
To marry high school sweetheart Sally Halford
With two kids Sally and Mike
He will go to work riding a bike
He moved to Toronto and in Political Science got a PhD
Not knowing cancer could snatch away his life so cruelly  
He wasn’t poor or rich
But he too got the itch
And he was a metro Councilor from 1982 up to 1988
Championing his cause putting all in the hands of fate
He remarried to the pretty Olivia Chow
She became an NDP MP in 2006, wow!
In 1990 Layton became of Toronto’s Deputy Mayor
In 1997-2003 he settled down as a City Councillor
Failures for a Federal seat in winning he had a few
But gutsy Jack Layton had the Federal seat in view
He was the cork or bobbin which refused to sink
In 1919 he founded the Green Catalyst Group Inc.
And in 1993 he ran for the House of Commons and came in fourth
But determined Jack Layton knew one day he would get the vote
In 2000 he published Homelessness:
The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis
He became the President in 2004 got the keys
Of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities
In 2003 became the Federal NDP Leader for sure
And was elected to the House of Commons in 2004
Later he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer
In 2011 he won 103 seats showed his stamina
He became Head of the Official Opposition Party
Then tragedy struck as he underwent hip surgery
He came out brave brandishing his cane
And we thought Jack was back once again
Then the strains showed still fighting his cancer
Vowed to defeat it and it was a battle very bitter
Then on August 22, 2011, his family got a bigger problem
For Jack Layton passed away at home that day at 4:45 am
Some called him Citizen Jack or Gentleman Jack
For the little people he was always on the attack
He fought for fairness and for compassion
Suffering silently as he did this in remission
Hard working with a fighting spirit
Alone Jack Layton did every bit of it
Fighting for the Homeless and the Environment
Trying to give gays and lesbians their equal vent
Even when his foes called him names like Vladimir Jack
Taliban Jack or Chairman Jack he gave them the slack
He was above such petty jealousy he never held any grudges
Fighting only to build a United Canada yet he never budges
In his final letter to Canadians he addressed us all
It was as if he knew it was going to be his last call
He said Love is better than anger, Hope is better than fear
Optimism is better than despair so let us love show we care
Not like some who are sheer apologies and pessimistic
We’ll change the world if we be hopeful and optimistic
No other Politician except Pierre Trudeau
Showed such patriotism, charisma and glow
To be given such a well deserved State Funeral[1]
Across Canada tears flowed from one and all
Who will show us that special human touch
The hugs and smiles we got to love so much
For his short 61 years on this beautiful world
John Gilbert Jack Layton gave it a real whirl  
All politicians praised him for his good works
But why do they sometimes behave like jerks?
Denying the Social right for every child and senior
From our deserved wealth as our cup runneth over
Winning over 100 seats Jack made history
But his death left a hole in our Democracy
Why can’t others from Jack’s book take a page
Stop the puerile parliamentary sniping and rage
Put all Canadians first then look after the others
And stop the quagmire of hypocrisy my brothers?
Naraine Datt
Naraine Datt lives in Pickering. Ontario, and has so far published 2 books of poetry (100 poems) A Lonely Voice and Drink from my Calabash.  He is presently working on his first novel The Berbician.

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