The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Flushing Out the Hyper-Partisans

Posted on December 28, 2008

Newt Gingrich, best remembered as the leader of Republicans in Congress and their “Contract With America,” recently reflected on his years in politics and his own role in breeding hyper-partisanship in the nation.  His comments, now viewed with the benefit of hindsight, are revealing: “I don’t buy this “base” mobilizing baloney, which is a guaranteed way to minimize long-term survival.  It embitters the country and breaks it apart and creates a profoundly mistaken model.  It may work for one or two elections, but the cost bites you for a generation.” Gingrich’s “take no prisoners” attitude has now been transported to Canada.  Parties keep trying to win elections by mobilizing their partisan base, but the pie is getting successively smaller.  The reality is that it…

A Real Coalition Christmas

Posted on December 24, 2008

My own Christian heritage reminds me that the original Christmas, as portrayed in scriptures, witnessed the most unlikely of characters coming together for the sake of one child.  While the emphasis has most often been on Bethlehem, the presence of noblemen (wisemen) from the East, shepherds, angels, government figures, along with Mary, Joseph and their special child is a remarkable illustration of what could have happened in Ottawa if we had just stayed true to what we had been elected for, remained in the capital, and worked our way through the impending economic crisis in a responsible manner. Much attention has been drawn to the coalition between the Bloc, NDP and the Liberals, but only time will tell if it will endure. The issue…


Posted on December 20, 2008

Now that the shenanigans of the House have taken a welcome backseat to the more serious matter of rescuing the economy, perhaps we can get back to some reflections on the viability of non-partisanship as a political option, keeping in mind that our key premise is that the search for common ground is a non-partisan strategy.  This has been missing for some time in Ottawa and was greatly exacerbated in the last federal election. Viewing the battle from the inside was something of a sordid affair, as political campaigns usually are, but there was something different about this one, a strange occurrence that left everyone sullied and aware that somehow those of us in the political class had failed to protect the historic sense…

Lest We Forget

Posted on December 15, 2008

A Canadian soldier presently serving in Afghanistan has communicated to a relative the huge struggle he’s facing because of the death of six of his fellows in the past week. The crazy politics of this past three months has unfortunately assisted in leading many of us to forget the cost that is actually being felt by those who are battling in ways that matter so much more than the way we have been behaving as politicians lately.  I opted to put my response in this blog, in hopes that we’ll remember just how much we owe to these fine Canadians.  I’ve altered his name for obvious reasons. Hi Lloyd: What a terrible immersion for you into the realities of Afghanistan.  I recall talking to…

For You, Michael

Posted on December 14, 2008

Michael Ignatieff and I have enjoyed many discussions about politics and we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not the easiest of fits for either of us.  Reflective, and at times brooding, we nevertheless inherently understand that our compassion for the human condition is perhaps better leveraged by serving in the Canadian Parliament than assisting at the food bank each day or visiting the Kurdish victims in Iraq.  So, we stick it out. The similarities pretty well stop there.  The seeds are there for him to be a first-rate parliamentarian and a well-respected world leader.  It’s impressive just to watch him work his way through a problem, examining it from all directions. So, far be it for me to offer him any kind of…