Craig Scott's speech from the Jer's Vision Gala on April 11, 2012

Craig Scott’s speech from the Jer’s Vision Gala on April 11, 2012.

Remarks on receiving Youth Role Model Award from Jer’s Vision on behalf of Jack Layton 

April 11, 2011


— Thank you so much,

-Olivia wanted so much to be here  tonight but could not come because of an important trip to China. But I know that she and the Layton family are honoured — and indeed touched — that Jack is being presented with this Youth Role Model Award.

-And, speaking personally, I am truly privileged to be here tonight to  accept this award on Jack’s behalf. I am privileged to have been given the chance to follow in Jack’s footsteps and now to represent the people of Toronto-Danforth who remember Jack as both a cherished friend who worked hard for them and as a truly great Canadian who fought to maintain and build on this country’s  deepest values.

-Jack saw young people from coast to coast to coast as the future of this country.  He wanted to build a Canada where the needs of young people were considered now so that we could all work towards building a future Canada that reflected the dreams of young people.  A Canada where generosity and equality are made overriding priorities.  A Canada where grotesque inequalities in wealth disappeared and everyone has access to adequate food, housing, education and health care. A Canada where there is finally justice for First Peoples. A Canada where there is environmental sanity and a transition to a green economy that promotes good jobs and decent lives for all.

— Inspired by Jack, throughout my own campaign I emphasized that we have to place youth ar the forefront of policy and action for Canada’s and indeed the world’s future. We must seek out and act on the ideas of youth, the knowledge of youth about THEIR future. Put another way we need a shift in thinking — maybe a revolutionary shift — where youth — you — become role models for the rest of us. And there is no better example of how this can work than Jer’s Vision.

— Allow me finally to share some further thoughts on role models. As a gay man, I am of course especially fortunate to be here accepting this award for Jack — and to have my partner Aeh joining us here tonight.   As Randall described so eloquently, Jack was there for the LGBTQ community way way before it was either easy or expected.  And he was there every year at Gay Pride, celebrating as joyously as anyone else in the parade. And he tirelessly promoted mutual respect and genuine inclusiveness in Toronto-Danforth, one of the most culturally and religiously diverse ridings in Canada, helping make possible that  60 per cent voted for a gay candidate. Jack helped make a better Canada possible, and he helped make possible the very fact I am standing before you as his successor as Member of Parliament. He is Canada’s role model, he is your role model — and he is also my role model.

– to conclude, I am honoured to be accepting this award for Jack  and so privileged to have the chance to help carry on Jack’s vision.

— Thank you.