Feathers of leadership
Posted by Joanna Smith, Ottawa Bureau
New Democrat MP Olivia Chow (Trinity--Spadina) presented Interim Leader Nycole Turmel with a special gift as the 102-member caucus gathered for the start of a two-day strategy session in Quebec City on Wednesday: two eagle feathers that were sacred to her late husband, Jack Layton.
Chow said she hoped the feathers would give Turmel wisdom and strength as she leads the party until a new leader is chosen in Toronto next March.
"He used these feathers to guide his decision-making," a tearful Chow told her colleagues, who she thanked for love and support when Layton was battling cancer. "May Jack's spirit guide us, now and in the future."
An aide told The Canadian Press the story behind the feathers:
One of the feathers fell from an eagle that circled Layton and Chow while they were kayaking in the Queen Charlotte Islands shortly after the 2006 election. Haida Gwaii elders told Layton it was a "feather of leadership" and blessed it. The other feather was given to Layton later by an aboriginal leader.