The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Fury, Foam and Failure

Posted on January 31, 2009

Most never expected the coalition to really get launched anyway, but the violent nature of its demise caused a few of us in Parliament to sit up and take note. For reasons expressed earlier, Michael Ignatieff made his call and then defended it strongly in the National Press Theatre – he wouldn’t be bringing down the Harper government.  The announcement hardly surprised most observers and events moved on to Question Period in the House of Commons three hours later.  I was amused when approached by a number of Conservative staffers during the day, expressing their appreciation that they still had their respective jobs because of the Liberal decision to stay the execution. But it was during Question Period that the day soured considerably.  Leader…

Why Ignatieff Did It

Posted on January 30, 2009

I’ll be honest.  The greater part of me didn’t like the budget and wanted to vote against it.  There wasn’t one particular aspect, just the overall sense that we were throwing money all around but not really connecting the dots that would lead to long-term growth.  There was the need to balance what I was hearing from my local friends in the unions and anti-poverty groups with that of the London Chamber of Commerce and the City Council – both of which favored the budget. It was 24 hours of struggle in my mind and the movement towards the eventual conclusion that I was against that kind of irresponsible spending. And then I listened to Michael Ignatieff. That he’s remarkably eloquent speaks for itself,…

The Fifth Era

Posted on January 27, 2009

The Throne Speech today has likely ushered in the fifth great stage of parliamentary reform that we’ve seen since World War Two.  Regardless of whether this parliamentary session survives for any length of time, it seems to me that a significant seismic shift has shaken the House of Commons and only the coming months will reveal its true effects. The first stage directly followed the end of the Second World War. Canadians were optimistic as the middle class began taking firm root across the country. It was an era of expanding the franchise of entitlement and at its height during the St. Laurent/Pearson years witnessed the emergence of national healthcare, pensions, education and Canada’s own flag. Much of its success came from a cooperative…

Obama’s Real Genius

Posted on January 21, 2009

I rushed from a media interview to watch Barack Obama’s first speech as President with my staff at the office. I had picked up pizza on the way and was gratified to see them gathered around the small television watching history being made. We marveled at the sheer number of people on the Washington Mall. But more than anything, I was just glad to be with them. I have a young staff and I brought them on board specifically because moments like Obama’s wasn’t lost on them for a second. They firmly believe politics can and does make a difference at so many levels and in so many ways. My own particular message of non-partisanship is one which they particularly latch on to. They…

When Non-Partisanship Can Actually Save Lives

Posted on January 15, 2009

I just returned from Sudan and Darfur last night.  My wife is still there for the next week, moving along some of our programs for education and clean water. Like our other trips, we were accompanied by a large number of Canadians (15) who have assisted us in both building schools in south Sudan and also with endeavoring to provide the basic needs for some 200,000 or more evacuees from Darfur who have emerged into the area in which we work and are seeking aid to help their desperate lives.  Our fellow Canadians couldn’t help but come away wondering why Parliament doesn’t do more to affect this devastated region and its people. There are numerous reasons, but one of the main causes is that…