The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Love In A Time of Cholera

Posted on October 29, 2010

As if Haiti hasn’t faced enough since the devastating earthquake earlier this year, the island state now is under onslaught from a cholera epidemic.  In many ways it was inevitable. While many have criticized the humanitarian response to that initial Haitian disaster as being too slow (partly true), the reality has been that Haiti itself was devastated in its infrastructure and services in ways that made quick recovery impossible.  An entire city, government buildings, rural infrastructure, health and educational institutions, and much more – these all must be rebuilt from the ground up, but not before the old sites are demolished because they are unsafe. Rebuilding was never destined to happen even within a year’s time, and in that lag water became polluted and…

Hope In a Time of War

Posted on October 27, 2010

It’s like something put away in a cupboard, to be dealt with another time.  But for our troops in Afghanistan there is no such luxury.  Nor is it for Afghan community leaders (including women), NATO commanders or world leaders. The conflict in that remote part of the world, and from whence the 9/11 attacks and ongoing security risks find their origin, continues unabated and uncompromising. With Canadian troops due to leave the region next year, it’s like the struggle in which Canadian soldiers have performed with distinction, some paying for it with their lives, has receded from memory.  This is natural in a Western country where domestic issues have received primacy, but it doesn’t make the matter any easier for our soldiers. So, it’s…

Grading Badges

Posted on October 26, 2010

An odd article by Andrew Coyne in Maclean’s, in which he laments the usefulness of the United Nations and maintains that even if this country lost the Security Council seat because of the government’s pro-Israel stance, it was, in effect, a “badge of honour.”  Judging from the response to his observation by highly capable professional diplomats, he might have stretched things a bit.  But it was his following insight that raised a number of eyebrows: What exactly do we have to show, after all, for our previous stints on the council?  While we’re at it, what does the Security Council have to show for its 64-year existence? These are words that sound more like those south of the border than in Canada.  If Coyne…

The Life of Brian

Posted on October 25, 2010

For so many citizens, Brian Mulroney represents the past in this country.  This is what Stephen Harper is counting on.  Yet Mulroney’s personal difficulties aside, his nine years in office represented a kind of era that was one of this country’s crowning achievements in internationalism.  In a phrase: he was everything this present government isn’t.  While some surmise that the former PM is chagrined at the distant treatment he has received from the government, it could just as easily be true that he has rejected the present emanation of Conservatism specifically because of how it has sullied the Canadian image in the world.  We need to consider why that is so. Liberals dislike recognizing this fact, but it’s true: Brian Mulroney had an international…