Early this morning, Jack Layton died at home surrounded by his wife and family. May he rest in peace.
I have to admit that I am taken by surprise by the outpouring of affection for Mr. Layton. Not that he doesn't deserve it, the man was extremely gutsy in the past year in particular. Battling one cancer, leading his party to their best standing ever in a federal election, all the while knowing that he was terminally ill. And then gracefully and quietly stepping down when he knew that he didn't have the strength to continue as their leader. Not a word of complaint about his illness. You have to admire that.
But what surprises me is the kind of comments I have heard people making. One woman was so upset at aquacise class that she was near tears. Others were saying imagine what he could have accomplished if he had had more time. There seemed to be a consensus of support for Jack Layton and the NDP, more than just grief expressed at someone's passing.
It struck me just how NDP this province of Nova Scotia is. More than any other province in Canada, this little have-not province votes NDP both federally and provincially. And then I realised how this affects the 40 Days for Life vigil here. No wonder we meet with such opposition.
Our presence and our praying for an end to abortion is a rebuke to those who vote NDP, because they are supporting women's choice for abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy, for whatever reason. Say that you are praying for an end to abortion and you are silently questioning the average Joe about where he casts his vote.
Quebec meets virulent opposition to the pro-life vigil there because Quebec has on the whole rejected Catholic values and religion and they have the highest abortion rate in the country. So the vigil there is a direct questioning of the moral values of the Quebecois.
Here, in Nova Scotia, people vote NDP because that is the party that most supports legislation to help the poor, the party that seems to have the little guy's interests most at heart. And Nova Scotia is made up of a lot of "little guys", with the highest unemployment rate in the country - 9.5%.
Of course, the majority vote NDP. They simply think the issue of poverty and the state of the economy are number one. And the right to choose is not at the top of their list.
But the NDP stand firmly behind the right to choose. And they don't let go of that position, no matter what evidence is presented to them. So if you vote NDP because you think they will do the most for the poor and unemployed and disadvantaged, you must also know that you are voting for someone who will keep abortion legal and available at all costs.
So while 40 Days for Life is not a political movement, it is "political" in the general sense of raising the question of whom do you choose to lead your province and your country? Because it really does matter. And you can't have it both ways. Any vote for the NDP, no matter how well-intentioned, is a vote for abortion.