His call to all of us to engage with and learn from each other, to work together to make this a better country, is also very potent.
Our country is made up of citizens who live in towns, cities and rural areas from the Pacific to the Atlantic. We are Canada.
One of the things that I most admired about Jack Layton was his committment and willingness to work across party lines. To listen to and weigh all opinions. Something we can all model. This works between citizens and politicians too.
Often when we learn of a new candidate that inspires us, whether locally or regionally, we get excited.
Over time, we realize that the object of our admiration is human, and even has views and opinions with which we don't always agree.
To create a growing relationship, we must learn to communicate, consult and cooperate. Sometimes that process helps the other to modify their opinions. Sometimes we modify ours. Whatever happens, there is value just in the exchange.
The whole process, the clash of differing opinions, when done respectfully and openly, can result in the spark of truth. It moves us forward, to a new place.
Jack Layton's death has touched Canadians of all political stripes. May we work together for social justice at all levels of government. Jack's elected public service started at the municipal level. Let's create a local politics in the Cowichan Valley of respect for each other and the Earth. Let's pick up the torch and carry it forward.
Stephen Lewis closed his eulogy with a quote by the novelist Arundhati Roy, " Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing."
"Don't ever let anyone tell you it can't be done."