The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Ever Met A Prince?

Posted on November 30, 2010

While the political and journalistic worlds will be over-examining the tea leaves left over from yesterday’s by-elections, the results themselves don’t show any defining trends. The Conservative win in Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette was predicted, but Julian Fantino’s slim margin of victory in Vaughan wasn’t. The Liberal breakthrough in Winnipeg North was an upset. Taken altogether, nothing has really shifted. But it won’t matter, as all the spin doctors and pundits will seek to inflate the results beyond the rational. All three of the victors will make their way into Parliament soon enough and they will face the shock of hyper-partisanship and eventual disillusionment. However, after watching so many aspects of Parliament become unworkable, it’s been a delight to witness someone who cuts against the trend.…

Carry Protection

Posted on November 29, 2010

There’s something about Armatec that gets to me. Its talented engineers spend their time designing systems that protect our troops as they are ferried across the rugged terrain of Afghanistan in armoured personnel carriers. They are operating in a niche that, regardless of one’s opinion of the war itself, takes care of that one element of the conflict that Canadians have shown tremendous respect and compassion for: our troops themselves. A while ago, I was accompanying Peter McKay to NATO meetings in Europe and he opted to visit a military hospital just outside of Frankfurt. It was a remarkable and moving place, charged specifically with treating Canadian and American casualties returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Think of M*A*S*H* and you’ll get the idea. Staffed…

It’s A Crime

Posted on November 26, 2010

Normally, I wouldn’t weigh in on a by-election, opting to let democracy run its course. Trouble is, the current political slugfest underway in Vaughn, Ontario has some remarkably undemocratic aspects to it. Julian Fantino is the star candidate for the Conservatives in the contest, but for most campaign events and debates he has been AWOL, causing some detractors in the riding to put out an Amber Alert for the missing ex-police chief. Another amusing story this morning wondered why Don Cherry would back Fantino when the candidate refused to accept the puck or go into the political corner and take the hits. It is odd, given the high-profile nature of this particular election to see a well-known candidate refuse debates to such a degree…

Keeping A Stiff Upper Lip

Posted on November 25, 2010

My kids won’t kiss me.  Neither will my wife. I can still taste morsels from lunch hours after I’ve eaten. Man, the things I do for Jack Layton! Joking, of course. This is “Movember” and some 80 MPs have grown moustaches for the month in order to bring awareness to prostate cancer and to raise money for its eventual cure. When someone approached me mid-October to consider festooning my upper lip with bristle, I was initially hesitant, only because I had one when I was younger and didn’t take to it. But then I looked farther down the Opposition lobby and there was Jack Layton commiserating with some of his caucus, and, given his own courage on this matter, I realized I had no…

A Bad Climate For Democracy

Posted on November 24, 2010

I don’t have too much to say on why the Senate opted to turn down Bill 311 – the Climate Change Bill that was passed through the House and sent to Senate for analysis and ratification. There are numerous enough stories in the media about how the Conservative-dominated Senate harshly struck it down. It is good to see this in a bit of perspective, though. This the first time since before World War Two that the Senate opted to strike down a bill successfully passed in the House without even permitting it to be sent to committee for analysis and research. Its merits were never the issue; only the political optics of the Conservative majority prevailed before the bill’s strengths and pitfalls could be…