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Jack Layton — patron saint of TransLink, transit. Who knew?

August 25th, 2011 · 4 Comments

Here’s an unexpected bit of praise for Jack — from TransLink (their news release below).

More proof of my thesis that you can’t judge politicians by whether you personally find them appealing or not. You should judge them by what they got done for the good of everyone, not just themselves or their party or the groups who happened to support their party.

Without turning into Christie Blatchford, I have to say that Layton — in my experience of him while I was doing homelessness research in Toronto a decade ago — could be hard to take at times because of his tendency to showboat. Everything was a performance for him, as Globe columnist Jane Taber noted somewhat more tactfully than Blatchford did.

But he used his natural flamboyance, his unsquelchable optimism, in the service of making life better for various groups of people and he deserves credit for that, as TL is noting here.

TransLink flags to fly half-mast on SaturdayAgency pays tribute to a key figure in public transit in Canada As funeral services proceed for the late leader of the federal New Democratic Party, Jack Layton, TransLink will fly flags on its properties – including SeaBus and transit centres around Metro Vancouver – at half-mast on Saturday, August 27. There has been much well-deserved praise for Mr Layton’s qualities and achievements and dedication to public service in Canada in general; however, transit users in Metro Vancouver and across the nation have benefited from his patient work behind the scenes to secure vital federal funding for TransLink and other agencies. “It’s safe to say that we could not have brought in as many improvements as we have over the past six years if not for Jack Layton’s work,” notes TransLink Chief Operating Officer Doug Kelsey. “His Bill C-66 brought over $105 million to British Columbia for transit capital projects, and TransLink got $40.3 million of that. In fact, he used his party’s balance of power in Parliament to make sure that funding was included in the federal budget – which shows how willing he was to use whatever influence he had for the betterment of his country and its people.” As president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Mr Layton played a key role in establishing the federal Gas Tax Fund, which returns monies to regions so they can pay for transit improvements and supporting infrastructure. Money from Bill C-66 and the Gas Tax Fund has enabled TransLink to replace and expand the fleet of buses and SkyTrain cars and build the third SeaBus, all at a time when the Metro Vancouver region was expanding beyond anyone’s expectations. Jack Layton’s dedication and passion for the betterment of cities across the country will truly be missed.

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