The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Is Efficient the New Sexy?

Posted on May 31, 2008

This past week was as wild as it was sad.  A foreign affairs minister, plagued by numerous gaffes over the past few months, ultimately committed the unforgiveable sin of leaving classified documents in an insecure location.  It was a major indiscretion and his tenure as Canada’s chief foreign representative is over. I refused to take part in the ultimate bloodletting, in part because there was an element of the tragic in it and it’s difficult to watch such a leader descend in such rapid fashion.  My lack of participation did afford me the opportunity, however, of watching the drama unfold in real-time.  And it got me to thinking how mercurial things often are around this place. It was a year ago that the media…

An Election Worth Fighting

Posted on May 23, 2008

So, it’s out in the open.  Stephane Dion recently announced his intention to put in place a new carbon reduction initiative.  The response has been predictable – mixed. The government has had a field day, claiming falsely that it will add 50 cents to a litre of gasoline and that it will hammer middle-class Canadians. The NDP has slammed the proposal as well, even though they claim to be the party of the environment. I don’t want to get into the partisan stuff here.  Rather, I think all of us as Canadians need to apply our perspective.  Have recent polls not shown that the average citizen in this country wants action on climate change and a positive vision of how we get there?  Haven’t…

Bringing Ourselves Back

Posted on May 14, 2008

How does one maintain his or her own inner identity in the turmoil and power playing that come part and parcel with life in Ottawa?  It’s a question that doesn’t normally come to mind but the recent attention of this issue raised by the recent Maclean’s article has prompted numerous responses from other members of parliament confessing to struggling with such realities. Some expressed great love for their own spouses and families and yet felt the sharing of such sentiments seemed out of place in parliamentary circles.  A couple of others voiced the desire to actually speak out about the lack of decency in the present House activities but worried of the fallout from their own party leadership. What’s good about this is that…

How It Could Work

Posted on May 9, 2008

This week I observed an interesting example of how this parliament could work if we just actually got around to the business of cooperating in the national interest – or in this case, the interest of women. Upon first being elected over a year ago, I requested to get on the all-parliamentary committee on the Status of Women and it’s a decision I’ve never regretted.  We’ve covered interests as wide ranging as aboriginal poverty, female trafficking, domestic violence and the sad plight of many senior women.  The aspect that has captured my imagination the most, however, has been what’s called “Gender Budgeting.” Sounds boring but it isn’t. Gender Budgeting Analysis, or GBA, is all about how governments have frequently announced finance legislation, often in…

The Uncomfortable Ritual of Reading About Yourself

Posted on May 3, 2008

We can’t help it and we all do it.  As politicians we all follow our own press in the hopes that those who voted for us know that we are, in fact, active in our public lives and following through on our commitments. Other than public meetings or individual correspondence with constituents, the best way to get the word out is through the media.  We’ve all had our share of it, and at times we might not like the outcome, but we know it’s a necessity in present times. There are those moments, however, when an article or photo appears that digs below your public persona and takes a more intimate look.  That happened this week when Maclean’s magazine published a two-page spread on…