Wednesday, August 24, 2011

And Suddenly....

It's hard to believe this, but Christmas is only 4 months away.  (I can hear the groans and cheers from here!)  I was reminded of a sentence in one of the records of the first Christmas.  'And suddenly a great crowd of the heavenly host appeared....'  I haven't seen any angel choirs recently, but I feel a bit like the shepherds might have felt on that night. 

Things have been remarkably quiet on the political scene over the past few weeks.  This is usually a time when MLA's and their staff take vacation time from their hectic schedules.  Not a lot happens in August which is why I usually take my vacation at this time of year.

Last Thursday was my first day back in the office.  I was preparing for some Fall Fundraising events when my twitter feed popped up on my screen with a note that Barry Penner had resigned as Attorney General.  It's big news whenever the AG resigns and this was no exception.  Mr. Penner resigned so that he can spend more time with wife and family.  He's done a great job, is well respected and has made an excellent choice at this point in his life.  The Hon. Shirley Bond is taking on a new role and becomes both Attorney General and Solicitor General.  She is hard working, dedicated, wise and full of integrity.  She will do a fantastic job! She also is the first woman in BC to be both AG and SG.  That is quite an accomplishment!

I woke up early on Monday morning and heard the sad news that Jack Layton had passed away.  His passing will have an enormous effect on the federal political landscape and leaves a leadership vacuum in our nation.  Mr. Layton had a vision of Canada that ensured that the poor, weak and oppressed were cared for and empowered.  These are values that resonate with the heart and passion of Jesus and Jack Layton should be celebrated for having them.

On Wednesday Iain Black announced his resignation as member for Port Moody Port Coquitlam.  He will be the new President of the Vancouver Board of Trade. Mr. Black has been a remarkable MLA and former Cabinet Minister.  He's also a family man and a job that allows him to be home every night is a very good thing for him and his family. 

On Friday, we will hear the results on the HST referendum.  After 2 long years, the people will have their say and we will live with the decision of the majority. In whatever happens, my hope is that our expression of grass roots democracy will be seasoned with wisdom rather than the anger that sparked the referendum.  Generally speaking, angry people don't make wise decisions.

Wednesday's here.  Friday's coming.  Who knows what can happen in between!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jack Layton Passes Away

With his wife Olivia Chow by his side, NDP Leader Jack Layton announces he is stepping aside temporarily to battle a second cancer at a Toronto news conference on July 25, 2011. - With his wife Olivia Chow by his side, NDP Leader Jack Layton announces he is stepping aside temporarily to battle a second cancer at a Toronto news conference on July 25, 2011. | THE CANADIAN PRESSThere are times when you hope (desperately) for a better outcome than what you really expect.  When Jack Layton announced he was stepping away from the leadership of the NDP this summer to battle a 2nd cancer diagnosis, I hoped for a positive outcome.  I think Canada needed a man and leader like Jack Layton.  He was passionate about ideals.  More importantly, he was undeterred by the challenges that stood in between what he saw could happen and what he saw did happen.  I admire his tennacity and commitment to care for the poor, the weak and the oppressed.  Jesus was passionate about those same things and somehow along the way, that same passion and vision resonated with Jack in a meaningful way. 

I met Jack Layton a few years ago when I was President of the Kamloops and District Chamber of Commerce.  He struck me as a genuine and humble man who was more interested in being real than he was in pretense and posturing.  My hope was to meet him again in my new capacity and pray with him in his office.  It was not to be.

I heard the news of his passing early this morning. I had hoped for a better and brighter outcome.  It was not to be. While his family has experienced a great loss, our nation has lost a great man who brought balance and wisdom to Canadian politics.  He will be missed. 

I read Jack Layton's Letter to All Canadians earlier today.   I don't know if  I've seen approach death in a more dignified and balanced approach.  Consider his last words to all Canadians....

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.

On behalf of the board and partners of Leading Influence Ministries, we express our sincere condolences to Mr. Layton's family, his colleagues and his peers.  Your loss enormous and our prayer for you is that the God of all comfort will be near you in every way.  We have lost a great Canadian who inspired us, challenged us and left us with the hope that things really can be different than what we see around us.