It was difficult to watch NDP leader Jack Layton address the media Monday in announcing his temporary departure from his duties as leader of the official Opposition.
He looked gaunt and frail and sounded weak as he delivered the shocking news that he was battling a new cancer and would need to take time off to once again ward off the disease.
This news, coming just weeks after Layton wowed a nation on the campaign trail with his charm and energy in leading his party to a remarkable 103 seats, is both ironic and sad.
The man most view as the single reason why the NDP is in uncharted territory in both popularity and power, is leaving his fellow MPs, many of them rookies in Ottawa, just when they need him most.
However, in typical bulldog fashion, Layton vows to be back for the September session of Parliament to hold the Conservative government accountable, and it’s safe to say that Canadians share his optimism and wish him well.
Many who saw him Monday may think he is being too optimistic but many of those same people likely thought Layton had little chance of success in the last election campaign, fresh off a battle with prostate cancer and hip surgery.
Cane in hand, he promptly kicked political butt.
That bodes well for the personal campaign against cancer he now must wage and if a positive attitude and strong will count for anything, then it would be foolish to bet against him.
His party must find a way to get by without the man who led them to new heights for at least the short term. And attempting to bring his passion and commitment to this country and its citizens would be a great start.
– Black Press