News, Politics

Jack Layton Honoured With Chalk Messages

Jack Layton chalk condolences at City Hall; Image: Greg Robinson
Hundreds of chalk messages of condolence for Jack Layton blanket the square outside Toronto's City Hall. Image: Greg Robinson

It began with one message of remembrance written in chalk on a wall outside Toronto’s City Hall.

And then another. And then another. Now nearly every inch of the sidewalk and walls in the square is covered, all with a similar message: We will miss you, Jack.

It is one way that people are mourning and remembering one of Canada’s most beloved political leaders, who died on Aug. 22.

Jack Layton was the leader of the NDP (New Democratic Party), Canada’s Official Opposition party in government.

Layton’s death is affecting many people across the country—even people who didn’t agree with his political point-of-view.

Many people say that Layton represented the “average” Canadian. All of his life he fought for the rights of average Canadians; he worked hard to help people get better housing, medical support and other rights.

For eight years he helped to grow the NDP as its leader. It became the Official Opposition of the government for the first time in history.

Layton died of cancer this month at the age of 61. He was the first Opposition leader to die in office in more than 90 years.

Thousands of mourners have visited his casket to pay their respects to Jack Layton, at the Parliament buildings in Ottawa and in Toronto. He will be honoured with a state funeral at Roy Thomson Hall on Saturday (Aug. 27).Jack Layton; image: NDP

On Saturday, Toronto’s CN Tower will be lit up in orange, the colour of the NDP party, to signify the city’s respect and love for the leader.

In the final days before he died, he wrote a letter addressed to his party members and all Canadians. In it, he said,

“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.”

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Many politicians, including those who held different opinions and even argued with Jack Layton, were very sad when he died. That’s because they respected his commitment to Canada and Canadians. How do you show respect  to others, even when you disagree with them?

Reading Prompt
Summarize today’s article in less than five sentences. Make sure to include the most important details.

Demonstrate understanding of a variety of texts by identifying important ideas and some supporting details (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Demonstrate understanding of a variety of texts by summarizing important ideas and citing supporting details (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Demonstrate understanding of increasingly complex texts by summarizing  important ideas and citing a variety of details that support the main idea (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Grammar Feature: Semicolon (;)
A semicolon is a punctuation mark that can be used to attach two complete parts (independent clauses) that are about similar things. Using semicolons makes the connections between these two parts (clauses) very clear. For example, in the sentence below a semicolon is used instead of a period to show the connection between the two parts.

All of his life he fought for the rights of average Canadians; he worked hard to help people get better housing, medical support and other rights.

Place a semicolon in the sentences below.

1. He walked in the room he noticed he wasn’t alone.

2. The sandwich was delicious it was the best sandwich she had ever eaten.

3. The teacher wanted the students to paint she didn’t know what a mess they would make.

4. The camp had a lot of counsellors almost all of them were nice but a few were bossy.