Members of the Canadian Media Guild are saddened by the loss of our friend and ally, Jack Layton. Jack died this morning in Toronto after a battle with cancer.
A life-long activist, Jack stood up — and spoke up — for things that Guild members hold dear, including human rights and public broadcasting. During the biggest battle of the Guild’s history, the 2005 lockout at CBC/Radio-Canada, Jack was one of the most frequent visitors to Guild picket lines across the country.
Jack and Olivia support Guild picketers in Toronto in 2005.
?Of all the politicians we were talking to at the time, Jack was the one who had the best understanding of public broadcasting and the union’s important role in it,? remembers Arnold Amber, then-president of the CMG’s CBC branch. ?He made a point of supporting our picket lines in any city he was visiting, big and small — from Toronto and Ottawa to Charlottetown and London, Ontario. It was such an uncertain time for all of us and he came out and gave us moral and political support when we needed it most.?
Jack at the Guild picket line in London, Ontario, in 2005.
?Jack was an unfailing supporter of unions and workers’ rights,? says Carmel Smyth, national president of the CMG. ?It’s fashionable in politics right now to blame unions and workers for the world’s troubles. But in becoming Leader of the Opposition in Ottawa, Jack was fighting to make a different kind of politics popular again, one that values compassion and collective action. It is tragic that his life was cut short.?
Our thoughts are with his partner in life and in politics, Olivia Chow, and his family.