Skip to content

I saw a shooting star…

Late, very late last night in Whistler, beneath a sky so deep and dark that entire swaths of stars appeared to be so close you could reach up and grab one… a single meteorite blazed a  spectacular glowing path  overhead.

In a moment, it was gone, leaving nothing but the image in my mind. Thoughtfully, I considered on the long drive home how fitting and perfect it was to see such a thing at the end of what was one of the most exceptional days of my life, and that I had looked up at just the right moment to see it happen.

I awoke this morning after only a few hours sleep, to the news Jack Layton had passed at 4:45 am eastern time, which after the time difference, was very shortly after I saw that blazing star streak across the sky…

And I couldn’t help but wonder if it really is true that every shooting star is a soul released to heaven.

Somehow, that thought feels right.


Jack and I had it out once via email on his position over the long gun registry, and his thoughtful and uninhibited response helped shape who I am today. Not many politicians will take the time to honestly expose their stance, and he did. For that, I respected him immensely.
 I wish Jack all the best in his next journey, and my condolences to his family and friends. He was a good man and his star shines bright. May his memory and passion live on in those who respected, loved and admired him, and in the actions of many who believed as Jack did, that we can all do exceptional things for our country. I hope I can inspire a fraction of the people he did, regardless of political leaning, to simply become engaged.

Jack Laytons last letter


  1. It is a sad day. Finally, someone in politics who people from all sides really like – and then gone.
    I was hoping to see Mr. Layton come back – he was a hopeful person – maybe this is the beginning of something much better.


  2. I am so sorry about Jack. He really cared about the people, and that is something very rare these days. My heart goes out to Olivia. She and Jack were a devoted couple. It always made me smile, to see them walking along hand in hand.

    This country won’t be the same without Jack. He will be missed.


  3. Yes, Laila, I’m sure that the shooting star you saw was indeed Jack’s soul winging it’s way to the hereafter. I’ve always believed that the brightest stars are the ones that burn out the fastest, and in my opinion, Jack was the brightest star in Canadian politics. He will be missed by everyone, regardless of political stripe.


  4. I awoke this morning to the sound of hard, drenching rain. Vancouver Island weeps for Jack, such a statesman. He was (to borrow a phrase) the Best Prime Minister we never had.


  5. There is Jack Layton in all of us. He proved that by bring Canadians together. His love for Canadians and optisism for the future are the same traits we have.
    Don’t wait for another leader like Jack to pick up the baton.
    Don’t mourn his passing,and dream of what might been. Celebrate and continue his work by being a Jack Layton in your family, on your street and in your town.These are but a few committed acts that will make your town, province and country strong.
    Bless you and thank you Jack Layton for showing us which road to take.


  6. What a beautiful tribute to Jack Layton. I knew Jack the way a lot of people knew him. He was the guest speaker at the Yukon NDP convention & made such an impression on most of us there. Many Liberals came to the evening event so they could hear him speak. (It was the talk of the town!) After talking to Jack for a few minutes I felt like I had met a genuinely good person who truly loved making a difference. He also spoke about how he met Olivia and their love for one another. I met him in the early 90’s and over the years we met, albeit briefly, at various NDP conventions. I always felt he was my friend. Actually, he was everyone’s friend because he truly cared about everyone.


  7. You were very lucky Laila, to witness Jack leaving this earth. He is not dead; rather he has moved on to the next stage of his journey. As long as his words echo in people’s hearts and minds, he will remain with us……rip Jack.


  8. My heart was broken this morning when I heard the news. I had a few bouts of tears today from shock, grief and frustration, to hope and now feeling thankful, blessed that he chose to live his life in public as a fighter for the best in all of us. His letter was such a gift and I hope we will be able to fulfill his dream, our dream, for a more honest, fair, compassionate Canada.


  9. As always Laila, you have eloquently brought beautiful solace to your readers during a time of quiet reflection. A very fitting tribute to one of Canada’s greatest statesmen. Thank you.


    • I am feeling many regrets for a person who does not like to look back in regret.

      I had not one, but two opportunities to meet with Layton, one last year, one this year, and at both times I was unable to. Driving to Whistler Sunday morning, I said that I heard from friends back east he was expected to pass sooner than later… and that if I never had an other chance to meet with him, I would regret it, but to be honest, I didn’t think for a moment I would wake up Monday morning to news of his death.
      In 2010, I wrote to him over his stance on the long gun registry, from the viewpoint of a former victim of violence. A couple weeks later, he personally wrote back to me with a very thoughtful, long letter and I was impressed that he took the time to do so, when so many other politicians of his level would have a staffer send a form letter instead, or a reply on his behalf.. While we had to agree to disagree, his reasons in the letter and his personal comments are close to my heart and I can never doubt his commitment to help those who lack the voice to help themselves.


  10. I love all the responses. Grieving is about coming together and talking. Old stories, old insights …

    One good thing about August 22, 2011 was the discovery that we still have a Public Broadcaster … and that CBC is still strong enough to provide a generous platform for us to grieve Jack Layton’s loss and to celebrate his life.

    I watched CBC Newsworld all day … fascinated and inspired by the recollections of so many people. Stockwell Day, for cryin’ out loud, gave one of the best. Today (Aug 23) it has continued … no private for-profit network would do that.

    We’re stronger today because of that. Talk about giving people a voice, Laila: you might say that Jack Layton just did that for us.


  11. You just reminded me Laila, to review my own correspondence with Jack. We talked about Fighter Jets, diplomacy, war, democracy all in one series of letters after I wrote to him about the F-35 program…now I’m crying again. Canada’s loss. We must continue to fight for democracy and with the best intentions, hope and love. That’s the legacy of Jack.


%d bloggers like this: