Today was the first debate in the race to become the next NDP leader. I don’t remember much about the last race. I was working in the leader’s office at the time and we weren’t allowed to openly support candidates. I also wasn’t a member of the party and thus didn’t have a vote.
At the moment I am once again not a member of the party, but I am curious to learn more about those who are running. The party has been a big part of my life since I was a child, and I remain curious, if less dedicated than I once was. And since the first debate was in Ottawa, I thought I might just go out and hear from the four current candidates.
When my father died I inherited a book about Tommy Douglas, signed by Tommy Douglas to my father. When I helped my grandfather move last week, one of the items I packed was a book by Ed Broadbent, signed and dedicated to my grandfather. I met him as a child, I knew he was an important man because my grandfather admired him.
And then I worked for Jack Layton.
Today at the debate Charlie Angus talked a bit about Jack, how Jack made you feel and it flooded me with memories.
Jack was a politician, but when you were in a room with him you felt like you mattered. You felt like not only was he listening to you, but he wanted to hear you. Working for Jack felt like something worth doing. It felt important. It still does. It always will.
Working on Parliament Hill is special, being a small part of history – the coalition talks, the prorogation (constitutional crisis), the 2011 election. All of that was special, but maybe wouldn’t have been as special if I hadn’t been working for a man that I believed in.
I don’t know what happens next for this party, I don’t know if I have a place in it, but I wish them all the best.