Hope is better than fear

August 24, 2011

Phillip Elanik performing in front of the commission in Inuvik

The last few weeks have brought sad news: the First Air crash near Resolute Bay, and the passing of both Phillip Elanik and Jack Layton. I had the honour of seeing Phillip Elanik dance in Inuvik and his passion and skill were inspiring. I offer my sincere condolences to the Phillip Elanik’s family, Jack Layton’s family and constituents, and the families of the victims of the First Air Crash.

Before passing away in the early hours on Monday morning, Jack Layton penned his last letter for Canadians. He discussed his hope for the future of the NDP and for the future of Canada. He ended the letter with these words:

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

The IRS TRC issued a short statement on Honourable Jack Layton’s passing, noting his work in bringing about the official apology to Aboriginal peoples for the Indian Residential School system. The commission wrote:

The Commissioners extend their condolences to the family and friends of the Honourable Jack Layton, Leader of the Opposition who passed away this morning. Mr. Layton was instrumental in bringing about the Statement of Apology issued by the Government of Canada to residential school survivors in June 2008. His contribution was recognized in the apology issued by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who stated:

“For the past year and a half, he has spoken to me with regularity and great conviction on the need for this apology. His advice, given across party lines and in confidence, has been persuasive and has been greatly appreciated.”

Such leadership on reconciliation will be missed.

More statements on the events of the last few weeks can be found on the TRC’s website.

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