The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Rethinking Liberalism

Posted on June 30, 2010

This is just a note to let readers know that starting tomorrow – Canada Day – there will be a new series of posts on modern-day liberalism in Canada. The overall theme will be a frank and hopefully energetic appraisal of liberalism’s weakness and what will be required to get its original spirit back. Truthfully, it’s get increasingly difficult to tell what is a conservative and what is a liberal anymore. Political conservatives are spending like drunken sailors and their liberal kin have often left behind those segments of society most in need of political advocacy. Both classic liberalism and conservatism have been taken over by the tribal urge that is modern-day politics. Almost four years in Ottawa have taught me that any party…

I Hear the Pain a’Comin

Posted on June 29, 2010

As the dust settles on the recent G8/20 gatherings, the overall grading of its outcome has been deemed “mediocre.”  If there was any hope that the recent effort could provide new life back into the G8 and perhaps extend it longer life, there is less optimism for it today. I had an interesting call this morning from a member of the German delegation who specializes in international development.  I had met him at a previous G8 run-up gathering and appreciated his candour.  He expressed frustration at what he termed the “zero-sum game” regarding child and maternal health.  “All of the delegations knew going into these sessions that your PM was pressing us to donate more to the maternal health initiative, but at the same…

Have We Changed?

Posted on June 28, 2010

It’s over, thankfully. In the end, it wasn’t as hoped. The child and maternal health file received frail buy-in from the other nations, though Stephen Harper worked for a better outcome. Following all the hype, it will leave those hoping for some kind of breakthrough in international development from the big leaders in bitter disappointment. For all those hoping for some kind of bank tax and reform – nada. To be sure, our PM never put this initiative in his toolkit anyway, but for those other G8/G20 nations that used the public purse and staggering deficits to bail out corporate profligacy, it was a bitter pill to swallow. The government is attempting to claim leadership credit for the supposed compromise reached on deep deficit,…

Sticks and Stones … and Nail Guns

Posted on June 27, 2010

Three big events took place yesterday – the World Cup, the G20 and the protests.  If you watched television at all, it was the latter that dominated the airwaves. There was something of the macabre in it all. Canadians aren’t used to this and so it was likely we just couldn’t stop watching it. As day gave way to night, the streets of Toronto grew ugly. Tens of thousands of protesters moved this way and that, while the police cordons ebbed a flowed – revivifying the scenes of over a decade ago, when similar confrontations took place at the Pacific Rim conference in Vancouver. While most of those protesting were suffused by intentions of peaceful complaint, others straggled in who were just looking to…

Miles to Go, Promises to Keep

Posted on June 24, 2010

With the G8/G20 summits going into full swing over the next few days, it was interesting to hear Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon wishing that donor nations would stop making wild promises but instead concentrate on keeping the vows they already made in previous sessions.  In so doing, the minister was merely repeating the requests made by numerous NGOs and think tanks over the past year. Recurring summits have repeatedly reached beyond their collective grasp; it just goes with the territory.  The problem this time, however, is that Cannon himself, as host, has castigated other nations for what Canada itself is guilty of.  When both the PM and his minister claimed last week that this country has met its G8 commitments, it barely caused…