The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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A Sad Admission

Posted on March 29, 2009

Ironically, I was in discussion with some constituents this weekend in my office when I received a call from a Conservative MP from another part of the country – a friend who shares many of my non-partisan views. He wanted to talk Africa, specifically the recent cuts made by his own government to development funds to eight African nations. We had discussed many things over the last two years, but to my knowledge we had never conferred on Africa itself. After excusing myself from the meeting, I listened in surprise as he told me of the sharply negative response he had received from some members of his church concerning the aid cuts. It turns out he’s a member of a committee in that congregation…

Sometimes Politics Is Just … Hockey

Posted on March 27, 2009

I had a fascinating lunch yesterday at the invitation of Russian Ambassador Georgiy Mamedov at the National Arts Centre. A seasoned diplomatic and political performer, Mamedov has a self-described love for Canada as a remarkably peaceful country where we “refuse to inflate our regional differences to the point of political anarchy.” Asked by President Putin to take a similar post in Washington, the experienced diplomat opted instead for Ottawa because of a genuine appreciation for the benefits of our society and for our peaceful influence in the world. “I partly wanted to have lunch with you because of your last name,” he offered at the beginning. It turns out Lester Pearson, or at least his name, saved the ambassador from falling into a lesser career. He…

A Pertinent Media Response

Posted on March 25, 2009

Interesting responses to the blog yesterday about the present government’s move out of Africa and my own concern that not enough critique is being done in the media by either the opposition parties or the media itself. The producer of the “Politics” program with Don Newman emailed me yesterday feeling I had perhaps misrepresented the actual account of the program itself. I had been informed it was a four-minute segment but he corrected me by saying it was six minutes.  Furthermore, he assessed the time allotted to Mr. Abbott and myself and determined it was roughly equal. I think this is surely the correct view, and I thank him for the correction. I wrote back and immediately apologized, stating that since I had expressed…

Out of Africa – The Responsbility to Neglect

Posted on March 24, 2009

I was pulled out of the Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday to appear on “Politics” with Don Newman. The subject was Rwanda and the recent CIDA cut of humanitarian dollars to that troubled nation. I respect Newman more than most because he’s nobody’s fool, seasoned and incisive.  But when I got to the Parliamentary Rotunda for the interview, I was told the session would last only four minutes and that I was to be on with Jim Abbott, Parliamentary Secretary for CIDA. I like Abbot well enough but I instantly knew there would be no time to really get to the nub of the issue. And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. There was only time for three questions – the first and last to…

Kenney’s Kiss-Off

Posted on March 22, 2009

The subject of immigration has been divisive in this country from the sixties. Yet despite the complexities inherent within the system, successive Liberal and Conservative governments have understood the need, both economically and socially, for an open society based on a generous invitation to the world to “check out” the diverse and prosperous quality of life that Canada affords. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney came to my home town – London, Ontario – last week and offered his opinions on this country’s immigration standards and the need for new arrivals to “integrate.”  This is the kind of language one doesn’t normally hear, at least at official levels. Huron College is a respected institution that focuses on politics and public policy and seeks to energize students.…

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