Dear Jack…

listen to Charles read the letter here:


Dear Jack,

We've been friends for a long time and friends really ought to tell friends the truth. So since nobody else has told you, I think it's time for me to step up and get it done. Those were the same first words I used to to talk back to the rhetoric you were using a few years ago when Canadian democracy wasn't working quite the way you wanted it to do and you tried cooking up some sort of coalition omelette with the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois. It wasn't your ideal coalition. Ideally, you'd be the Prime Minister, driving the bus, and the Libs and the Separatists would just be your tail pipe. Anyway, it didn't work out because the team which got the most votes and did form government was not going to fold their tent just because you and Bob Rae and some professors were going around the country lecturing Canadians about how the coalition was the way to go because this is the kind of thing that Europeans favoured. It was the standard line from the Progressives. Since this is something the Europeans do and the Europeans are so superior to us, having elected socialists often and enthusiastically, Canadians ought to get with with the program. And riding shotgun in that coach of course is the unspoken but heartfelt feeling by progressives everywhere which goes something like this. Since the Americans, excuse me, let me say it little smugly, a little more NDP. Since the Ammeri-kans would never consider a coalition in the executive branch of government. Only one president at one time. No three headed Presidents in the Oval Office. Since the Americans would never do something so sophisicated, and nuanced….Since the Americans can't even spell coalition, it must be a very progressive idea and a Canadian ideal, something the social conscience of Canada, the NDP should be pushing. Remember the fall of 2008 Jack, when you launched the attempt at Coalition, you kept making the case that the Harper Conservatives didn't really command the support of the country because they got less than 40% of the votes. More than sixty percent went to the other parties. And then I chose to count the votes in your own riding of Danforth, and as it turned out you got less than 40% of the votes and so I thought well maybe, by your own standards you weren't legit either. The Liberals and Tories combined got more votes than you did. Why were you picking up the six figured paycheck and the seven figured money for travel expenses every year and all the other perks associated with working the system so close to the throne, so close to the vault you can practically smell the free money. So I'd say based on the reaction of Canadians to my simple arithmetic, it was clear to them that your own fish hook ended up getting in your own eye or to use the language you prerfer among your academic Beaujolais drinking buddies, you got hoisted by your petard. A little French goes a long way in a progressive discussion. Speaking of French I don't suppose the Orange Crush you pulled off recently in Quebec could have happened if all those winning NDP candidates would have had to clear the 50% plus hurdle in their ridings. I did another one of those nasty arithmetic jobs. And it seems the Conservatives, Liberals and the Bloc did score better than 60% and I can't recall anyone of my buds on the right saying Jack had nothing to crow about because more than 60% of the voters voted against Jack Layton's NDP. No they'd be laughed at. When you and Thomas Mulcair and other members of the left were saying more than 60% voted against the Conservatives, we were told not to laugh at this line because the social conscience of Canada was saying so. If a right of centre person says something it must always be in the interests of some greedy corporation, but if a left winger spouts like a whale it's in the interests of the Canadian people, especially those at the bottom of the social ladder. Bottom of ladder has higher moral authority. You might be at the bottom, because you haven't worked a day in your life and your life consists of working the system to make sure you get free housing, free food, free crack pipes, and free heroin needles. But hey if you're at the bottom, you have far more social conscience free flyer points than some sap in a suit trying to feed his family by working for the man.



Jack, I'm not going to spend much time dwelling on the acolades offered to you in death. I actually think everyone's entitled to have their friends and followers put a little fertilizer on the bun after someone they care for passes. I don't want to get into that. You and I had some great chats over the years. And one of our little rules of the road was you didn't bore me to death with the NDP talking points and I didn't spend any of our private time knocking them down. You knew that I was a working class kid, son of a couple of heart and soulers who worked on the factory floor to pay the rent. You knew that I would never buy into how you saw the working class from your vantage point in the upscale tony neighborhood you grew up in far far removed from the blood, and sweat and fears on our side of the tracks. You knew that our path to middle class was saving some dough, buying a little store and working our tail bones off so we could buy our own house and eventually maybe another one to rent out and save some up some dough. That's what we hard working immigrants did. And over the years I saw people from various parts of the world coming to our country doing it the same way. Work hard, buy a little property and then maybe another, get your kids to apply a strong work ethic to school and becoming professionals at something. Anyway you knew enough about my life, to know I wasn't buying what your party was selling about surviving in Canada only through social assistance, or unions, or government jobs, all areas that were feeding troughs for your organizers, your activists, your fund raisers. In our private conversations, you never tried to push the progressive package at me. I wasn't a motivated customer. My family did the middle class the old fashioned way. We didn't work the system. We worked our tailbone.



And so Jack when we had a couple of pops and some good chat, we'd talk just like guys do, just like old friends do, a little sports, a little business, a little family. It was warm and friendly and I considered you a friend. But once again friends tell friends the truth and there's just one thing I want to say about what's happened since you passed, that really bugs the hell out of me.



And it's not about your passing being turned into a huge political fundraiser. I told my buds who knew we liked each other and they were asking me about this last week. I told them Jack was always a ham, but I never thought of him as a pig. And the pigging out on public dollars to be sent directly to the NDP in lieu of flowers or in lieu donations which might have been made for cancer research or any of the many causes that you supported, soup kitchens just to name one…nope if people wanted to send some coin to honour your memory they were instructed to send it to the Broadbent think tank which only exists on a cocktail napkin and even if it ever gets built it’s simply a wholly owned NDP collection plate. But that's not what I waned to bring up Jack. It's that line in the eulogy Stephen Lewis offered up and it's that same old, same old pitch that professional moochers have always used, and you know what I think of moochers Jack. Every family has one. Someone who just keeps working you for more, more, more and it's never enough and on top of all the take, take, take they do, they then add insult to injury by carping about how you haven't been generous enough with them, You owe them more. They're entitled to more. I can't stand Moochers Jack. You know that. And so there's Stephen Lewis, who needs no gps to find government grant money. And there he is delivering your eulogy, singing your praises, calling the deathbed letter you and Olivia and Brian put together, a social manifesto etc etc. All the violins have been cued. The crowd is giving up more precipitation than Hurricane Irene and then he says these words …"He wanted, in the simplest and most visceral terms a more generous Canada.”



Jack he was speaking for you. Now in all the chats we have had, you never gave me the impression that this country wasn't generous. It was certainly generous to you and your buds. The best example in a long list of examples is what went down on Saturday. This country, Jack, threw your party a multi-million dollar funeral. A state funeral Jack. That's a lot of glue. A lot of people were flown in. Lots of well dressed cops including those Mounties in their telegenic scarlet. A whole fleet of carbon spewing Cadillacs. Not just the hearse you rode in Jack. But the one Cadillac the eulogy giver rode in on as well and many others. Your colleagues were treated like royalty, Jack. I know you were up there smilin' that great Jack smile. And you didn't have to wave that great cane around like a prop. I figure that cane was worth at least fifty seats in Quebec. That was your sugar cane and I give you full marks for using the full tool kit. But about the generosity business. Jack, do you think if I introduced the eulogy giver to a family of Canadians who were once known as boat people from Vietnam, people who were tortured, and butchered and left for dead by their own people, people who got what little they had on a boat hoping that someone would pick 'em up and our country very generously did exactly that. Do you think the eulogy giver could look a mother who rescued her children on a boat and were eventually rescued by the most generous country in the world, Canada, do you think the eulogy giver could look her in the eye and complain to her about Canada not being a generous country? There are millions of people who have been taken in by this country and out of the millions there have been thousands who have ripped this country off and have been allowed to stay here, working the system accessing lawyers paid for by the generous people of this country. How come Omar Khadr's mother is in Canada instead of Pakistan? It's not because she's a Canadian patriot, Jack. She came here for the free health care and much of it was needed for her son who was part of a family dedicated to killing as many of our American neighbors as possible. The Khadr family is here precisely because the country is generous. The eulogy giver wants the country to be more generous. I want the country to be less generous to the moocher and less expensive for the honest hard working folks who the moochers have been enjoying a one-sided parasitic relationship with. Since the eulogy giver used the terms simple and visceral, and since those are the neighborhoods I play in let me put it in simple visceral terms. We are sick and tired of being generous with people who don't even like our country. We are sick and tired of being told by the professional not-for-profit moochers that this country isn't good enough. We are sick and tired of delivering free food, free housing, free cab rides, free motel rooms, free crack pipes, free heroin needles and free cadillac rides to free riders and freeloaders and moochers. Now Jack I can't make it any simpler or more visceral than that. I don't claim to speak for every working man and woman in Canada the way the eulogy giver does. But I am on solid freshly zambonied ice telling you I speak for most.



Thanks for giving me the opportunity Jack to vent a little bit. It was a tough week. I felt sad to see you go so soon, and as you can tell I felt sad for my fellow Canadians to see your memory being turned into a fundraiser for NDP sugar daddies and a condescending, ungrateful, ungenerous portrayal of the country that you and I both love.



Happy Trails Jack. I'll be seeing you some day and we'll be having some more pops and more laughs.



Rest in Peace my old friend.



Words from Sergeant Ryan Russell’s Widow

Listen here:

Adler – feb 7th


When Toronto Police Sgt. Ryan Russell was killed in the line of duty last month, the entire city mourned. It was a sad story made even more tragic by the fact the 11-year veteran left behind a beautiful young wife and an adorable two-year-old son.

However, when Russell’s widow, Christine, spoke for the first time at his funeral, her strength was so evident that she managed to make us all feel better — like everything was somehow going to be OK.

Now this woman’s strength shines through again in an incredibly touching letter published in the February issue of the Toronto Police Association’s magazine, Tour of Duty. It’s meant to be a thank you to her late husband’s fellow officers but Christine’s words also offer a heart-breaking glimpse at the moment she learned the love of her life had been run down by a stolen snowplow:


You never think this day would happen. Sometimes I thought about it just before falling asleep, because I was at home safe while he was out working the shifts that leave us all so vulnerable to these worrisome thoughts. But those are just silly thoughts, a last moment to ponder before drifting off.

I honestly never worried about Ryan’s job. I knew he was well trained, I knew he worked in teams, I knew he knew what he was doing out there. I admired him for being a Police Officer. I respected the job. I knew when we got married that I was marrying a cop. Marriage to a cop comes with many days, nights, weekends, holidays, and special occasions spent alone. I knew that, I got that. I also worked shifts, so we both understood the importance of making the most of our time together.

When you think about the "day" it happens, you get this visualization of sorrowful Police Officers knocking on your door to break your heart and deliver the tragic news. Unfortunately it was not that Hollywood moment, it was much worse than anything Hollywood could produce.

Ryan was on day shift January 12th. I heard him showering around 4 a.m., and as usual I fell right back asleep. I was up and out of the house by 7 a.m. I dropped off Nolan at daycare, and then began my usual drive into work. The roads were in terrible condition, so much snow and poor visibility.

My SUV struggled to make it out of our neighbourhood onto Kingston Road. I listened to the radio for updates on road conditions and accidents. I heard the news that a Police Officer had been injured by a snowplow, but thought nothing other than it must have been a vehicular collision.

Finally I made it onto the Gardiner and I called Ryan and left him a message that Nolan was dropped off and the roads were terrible and I was going to be late for work. Not 5 seconds later my phone rang, blocked caller ID, I naturally assumed it was Ryan calling me back.

The voice on the other end was not Ryan though. It was his friend and colleague, Tom Steeves. I just started blabbing, telling Tom, Ryan was on day shift and he had court today, and try him on his cell. I got the awkward pauses and sighs and then Tom asked me where I was? I said I was driving to work, why? Tom said where are you exactly? I knew from that moment … I don’t know how or why, but I just knew.

I exited at Spadina in a panic and tried to figure out how to flag down a cop for help. Tom begged me to pull over and wait, saying they would come to me. I just kept driving focused on finding St. Mike’s hospital.

I hung up on Tom and somehow I was able to continue driving, while barely seeing through my tears, and made the dreaded Hollywood calls. First call was to my mom in Peterborough. I told her Ryan was hurt and she needed to come to Toronto right away. Second call was to Ryan’s parents in Florida. I told Ryan’s dad, Glenn, he needed to come home, get on a plane and come home now. I found out later, strangely enough, both my mom, and Ryan’s dad had been watching CP24 in two different countries, at the same time, and happened to see the same footage, and they both knew that Ryan was more than hurt.

I finally pulled over at Queen and Yonge and waited. I could see St. Mike’s hospital one block away. I wanted to run there as fast as I could but my legs would not move.

Finally I saw a cruiser coming for me. The Sergeant who drove me one block to St. Mike’s could not look into my eyes. I asked him if Ryan was ok. He kept his eyes forward while the tears poured down his face. I knew it was fatal.

I was swarmed by a sea of high-ranking Police members as they whisked me through the emergency unit and into a small room. The lights in the room were dim, and I was forced to sit down. Finally the Hollywood moment …

After Chief Blair informed me Ryan had been killed, all I could ask was what Ryan was doing out there? Ryan’s a Sergeant, why was he out there? How did this happen? Ryan spent many dangerous years at Guns and Gangs, if it was going to happen during his career it would have been then not now, not as a Sergeant.

I remember crying but then the tears just stopped. I think my emotions went from shock, to grief, to disbelief, to anger, to resentment, to frustration and finally to self-pity. It was at the self-pity point (not even 20 minutes after being informed of my loss) that I was asked to consent to donate Ryan’s eyes. Ryan’s eyes. The most beautiful baby-blue eyes. His perfect 20/20 vision eyes. They told me it was the only part of him that could be salvaged. The most beautiful part was the only part. I immediately consented and I immediately began to feel better.

Ryan’s body was taken to the Coroners, and I was taken home. I was never allowed to hold his hand or kiss his face. Evidence needed to be preserved.

Family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, all began to fill up my house, all there to comfort me. Somehow I was fine, somehow I was comforting them?

From that point on I found strength. I was surrounded constantly by people who cared. I was assisted constantly by the Police Association. I was supported constantly by the Police Service and the public.

All of Ryan’s courage and bravery jumped into my soul and helped me get through the next week.

The visitation was overwhelming but I insisted on greeting every single person who wished to offer their sympathy, or gratitude, or last respects. I did it all for Ryan.

On the morning of Ryan’s funeral service, I was able to hold his hand one last time and kiss him goodbye. I told him I would make him proud and raise our son to be just like him.

As we followed the hearse, I took every moment in. Citizens outside the funeral home lining the streets, opposing traffic stopping, on ramps blocked off, motorists saluting, the vacated highways, the peaceful journey into Toronto along the Highway of Heroes.

We staged in front of 52 Division. The bagpipes began, and slowly the crowds marched. I saw the faces, the tears, the hands over the hearts, the saluting I heard the K9’s crying, I heard the sounds of silence in the busiest city in Canada.

It was all for Ryan. It was all from you.

Thank you for allowing me to tell you about the day you think will never happen.

Thank you for being brave and for being supportive.

Thank you for serving and protecting.

Thank you.

You are all heroes in life, and remember, there will be an answer, let it be.

With the utmost respect,
Christine Russell