A letter in song - Macleans.ca

A letter in song


Raffi has composed Jack Layton’s final letter as a song.

“In his last letter to Canadians, Jack Layton expressed a spirit of cooperation and positivity that resonated strongly with me and with many Canadians. This message was so widely shared immediately after his passing, I wanted to capture its wisdom in song to help us remember,” says Raffi, who in recent years has written songs inspired by the likes of Nelson Mandela, Jane Goodall, and the Dalai Lama.


A letter in song

  1. I wonder what ‘spirit’ Layton was expressing when he visited brothels being investigated for underage prostitution. I live in peculiar country where child entertainers write peans for perverts.

    • There’s been no day in court to establish the veracity of such claims (and I would be interested to see the evidence you have to support the underage claim…), but let’s go ahead and assume Layton did indeed visit a rub and tug shop.

      What are you hoping to accomplish here?  Are you honestly judging Layton’s entire life on the basis of that incident?  Are you so blinded by ideology that you cannot acknowledge the inspiration some have drawn from his life of public service?  Can you, in good faith, tell us that you’d immediately turn on Harper or other politicians you agree with in the face of similar revelations?   I’d really like to know your answers to these questions.

      One more question:  I get that you hate lefties and Layton (though I’d argue hate is a problematic approach to political differences), but was he really such a monster that you can’t wait for his body to cool before spewing such vitriol?

      I never voted for the NDP under his tenure, and had problems with his positions on many issues.  Should it ever be proven that he frequented prostitutes, I would agree that such behaviour is a blemish on his reputation.  But sh*tting on him in the context of a story about a song written by a beloved childrens’ performer, who was moved as so many Canadians were by Layton’s death, makes you come off as a rabid. nasty, and devoid of class.  Feel free to explain why we should view you in any other light,

      • I could write a thesis on why I don’t like socialists but I will focus on why I think Layton is a Hungry Ghost right now. 

        Layton was raised in upper middle class home, in privilege, and choose to be a parasite his whole life. Layton did not contribute to taking care of less well off than him, all Layton did was take. Economics, producing wealth is real while politics is pantomime.

        Layton’s rhetoric might sound good but he never actually contributed one cent to the care of less unfortunate than himself. Anyone who has worked in private sector, paid taxes, volunteer, donate money has contributed significantly more than Layton ever did. 

        I also wonder how many times does a pol get to be cautioned by police for visiting a brothel being investigated for underage prostitution before msm and public start to ask questions. 

        Toronto Sun ~ May 2011:

        Jack Layton was found laying naked on a bed by Toronto Police at a suspected Chinatown bawdy house in 1996, a retired Toronto police officer told the Toronto Sun.

        Layton was cautioned by police and released without being charged.

        The former Asian crime unit officer, who requested anonymity, details a prior police raid on the “premise currently ID as a bawdy house” looking for underage Asian hookers and a subsequent follow-up visit to the two-storey brick storefront on Jan. 9.

        Toronto Sun ~ May 1998:

        Vietnamese and Chinese mafia are increasing operations in brothels in Toronto, Canada. They traffic in women from Southeast Asia. Agents pay recruiters up to $8,000 for a woman, who then sell the women to pimps for about $15,000. 
        Agents take 10% of the earnings beyond the original contract. The women are forced to service buyers’ 12 hours a day, 400 buyers or $400,000 to pay off their debt. Women are abused and terrorized, being beaten and reportedly burned with hot irons

    • Tony, I’ll admit I don’t know you very well, but I think I can say with a great deal of confidence that Raffi Cavoukian has contributed far far more to our country than you or I put together.  

  2. Okay, I teared up at the first “Love letter to a nation” but I’m sad to say that overall I wasn’t that impressed.  By that I mean it sort of didn’t have the edge, the soaring build-up, the inspiring “get out there and DO” that I would personally hope for these words.  It was, on the other hand, a fine children’s song to singalong in the car or whatever, much like ring around the rosie which also lost all meaning in that way.

    But I do appreciate the sentiment of putting the letter to song.