The Honourable Jack Layton

“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.”

- The Hon. Jack Layton

November 8th, 2010 I entered a seemingly timid looking office building on the corner of Bank and Laurier in Downtown Ottawa. This was my first day of work at a brand new job for the Federal New Democratic Party of Canada. I would work there from that day through the historic 2011 election campaign, the national policy convention that immediately followed that June and through until the fall of 2011, when I join the communications department at the Office of her Majesty’s Loyal Official Opposition. Still working for Jack, part of Drew’s team, but out of the Federal HQ. Late July 2011, Jack announced to Canada (and the World) that he was taking a leave of absence to fight a new cancer he was diagnosed with. This was after he had just survived a fight with prostate cancer in 2009. Though, in August 2011, Jack passed on, losing that fight.

"Together, we can change the world"
Videography & Editing.
Videography by: Aaron Floresco.
The Hon. Jack Layton, State Funeral
State Funeral, Roy Thompson Hall, Toronto.
Photos by Jenna Wakani

Working through the heartbreak.

Just five days after his historic letter was released, we were tasked with the organization and production of this State Funeral in Toronto’s Roy Thompson Hall. With Kathleen Monk, Drew Anderson, Erin Jacobson and election video collaborator Aaron Floresco with direction from Olivia herself and her friend Nancy, we pulled off this first piece. Framed as a video eulogy from Olivia about Jack, about his life and his legacy to Canadians.

I considered it an honour to have worked on the video for Jack’s state funeral. We had limited time to pull this together. I consider this piece a personal triumph; it was a privilege to have helped build the narrative of this historic time both within the party and country. Without Jack, I wouldn’t have known this. I am proud to have worked with him, speak with him and to be inspired by him and the party.

I am pretty sure all of us made it through with very little sleep the entire week leading up to the state funeral and for myself, none for the two nights ahead of it. Aaron and I were hunkered into a small room backstage in Roy Thompson Hall for the 24 hours before the start of the proceedings, dealing with one rented Mac Pro that started eating itself, causing us migrate all of our media and having to rebuild the edit on to a newer rented Mac Pro system. Which also allowed us to move the audio mix off once we had a picture lock freeing Aaron up to do the final audio mix, while I polished the photo animations and colour timing.

The entire 48 hours before were fuelled entirely by the collected intensity and our personal need to “get it right.” And, while all of that was happening, the entire country was mourning Jack. In our self-containment, we had been missing most of what was happening outside. Even during the proceedings, we were still inside Roy Thompson without any gauge of how many people were gathered and how our work was affecting them, or helping them.

I am speaking for myself, but I don’t think it’s incorrect for me to say that… For us (the people on the production side), this was a kind of therapy. We dove into the production without the expectation of being able to come up for air and we dedicated every moment we could into trying to make something beautiful and unique. Something, to help us join the rest of Canada, in honouring and especially mourning Jack.

View from outside
Stephen Page's performance
Another view from outside

State Funeral Video Credits.

Kathleen Monk, Producer (NDP Director of Media and Strategy)
Drew Anderson, Producer, (NDP Director of Communications)
Erin Jacobson, Producer, (NDP Art Director)
Benjamin Dickerson, Editor, videography (NDP Communications Officer)
Aaron Floresco, Videographer, audio mix.
Nancy Tong, Story Supervisor