The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Productive Tension

Posted on March 24, 2008

Breaks during the winter parliamentary season are rare. Sequestered indoors in parliamentary committee rooms for endless meetings feels like something of a legislative bubble. The feeling is even more enhanced when you look out the windows to see nothing but the snow and ice of Ottawa. During such occasions most politicians feel a deep longing for their family and the need to be in more familiar surroundings. This is definitely true for me. With three young children at home, two recently adopted from Darfur, it’s easy to feel the ache for London. And so you’re thankful to spend a week with your family and friends in the riding. You make the inevitable plans for taking the family out for dinners or to a movie,…

Toward a “Muscular” Liberalism

Posted on March 12, 2008

Much of what transpires everyday in Parliament is meaningful and sometimes productive, but such things often take place outside of the public eye. What most Canadians read or see in the media is primarily centered in conflict, in part because modern media, by its own admission, thrives on such tension and either reports it or at times helps to create it. Political parties feed such a beast by staying in a kind of permanent attack mode. And so the running narrative about this present Parliament concentrates on scandals, question period and rampant partisanship. I am a Liberal, and a proud one, but at times I get the sense that true Liberalism is being clouded by the disturbing signs of 24/7 sabre-rattling. The time has…

Glen Pearson in Ottawa: A Different Perspective on Canadian Politics

Posted on March 11, 2008

I am still new enough to Parliament that I view it through something of a detached lens. I watch the bitter partisanship that so often substitutes for political discourse and I feel the same sense of revulsion expressed by voters. There has clearly been an alteration of tone and civility in this most hallowed of political chambers in Canada. All parties must share the responsibility and much of the blame. Something is slipping and it’s becoming obvious. Seasoned politicians and journalists have claimed that it wasn’t always this way; it has been primarily the last two years in which decorum in the House has sunk to significant lows. A certain moral and intellectual strength is ebbing away. The field of once blooming ideas has…