The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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A Timely Admission

Posted on February 28, 2009

He was a man who brought out a strong sense of anger in me some 20 years ago. Back then, Thomas d’Aquino was the head of the Business Council on National Issues and a clear force to be reckoned with. He helped to steer the deliberations in favor of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, along with NAFTA. I spoke with him in that time concerning the lack of support programs for those who would surely face the fallout of the new trade arrangement and the decline of the civil service, once implemented. He was supremely calm and confident, fending me off by asking what a firefighter was doing talking economics and concluding that I would just have to wait to discover the blessings the…

On Being Humbled

Posted on February 24, 2009

It was meant to be a simple enough exercise, but when my moment finally came, I performed poorly. The recent decision of the government to pull its foreign aid out of eight African nations, some of them in desperate shape, was shaping my mood all day. I had heard from a number of our international aid partners who worried as to what it all meant but were hesitant to speak out lest they lose some of the aid monies they receive at present. There was confusion and surprise. It was an odd announcement by the government, with little lead time afforded the media, the partners or even the International Cooperation critic, which happened to be me. And so when I was asked to pose…

From We to Me

Posted on February 23, 2009

The title for this post is taken from Craig and Marc Kielburger’s book urging people to see a larger world out there and get involved. Only I reversed it because in many ways I worry that the Internet and blogging in particular are summoning Canadians back into themselves at the very time we need to be forming a national consensus as to how we live and function as a modern society. Part of our problem is that we rarely stop to consider that culture is really a very vulnerable thing. If it was just a bunch of self-interests competing it wouldn’t survive but in fact spin out into chaos. For this reason, culture itself requires authoritative institutions – policy, newspapers, schools and, yes, parliaments.…

Told Ya’

Posted on February 22, 2009

The premise of my last post – “The New Evangelicalism” – was that people in the blogosphere can comment on anything without filtering it through more traditional means of checks and balances, and this led me to worry that a deeper more self-reflective conversation was receding. No sooner was it posted than numerous comments poured in, some from other bloggers on their websites. The comments were terse: “The author is guilty of doing the very thing he condemns” (to which I agreed). “Pearson slams the Internet.” “As an evangelical Christian, I find your words offensive.” What’s common about responses such as these is their brevity – all of them are one line! I’m not trying to be offensive or angry; instead I’m looking for…

The New Evangelicalism

Posted on February 21, 2009

One of the interesting developments of the digital world is the propensity to sit in front of our screen, surf the net, develop our websites or type out our blogs, often completely devoid of physical reality. Are we mad at politicians? Then don’t bother with the time consuming tradition of joining a local party riding association, just express our anger in a blog. It won’t change anything, of course, but at least we’ve had our say. Do we think we have the answer to what to do about our involvement in Afghanistan? Well, express it online and that way you don’t have to worry about actually changing policy through numerous venues that actually involve debating our position with others. Upset that a certain newspaper…