The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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And Now For Some Good News

Posted on October 31, 2012

Everything seems to be about domestic issues at present, and it’s clear that there are plenty of them to occupy our attention. But things are happening elsewhere, and many of them are positive and uplifting. Most of you likely know that my wife Jane and I run a non-governmental organization that takes on relief and development projects in the Republic of South Sudan. Each year we travel to a region there that is situated near the border between north and south Sudan, as well as being located at the border with Darfur. It’s not easy work. Building schools, assisting a medical clinic, running music and art camps, funding women’s programs, providing goats to returning families, and working on a project that provides clean water…

Inside/Outside, Offside/Onside

Posted on October 30, 2012

Last week Andrew Coyne, a writer I have much respect for, posted a comment on Twitter that, despite its cogency, stayed with me like few other things he has written. It said simply: “The real political divide is not between right and left, but between partisans and the rest of us.” In that one brief statement, Andrew characteristically summed up what is our greatest prevailing problem in Canadian politics. The lesson in this is profound and confirms my own experience from working in my community. The majority of people who I see everyday are growing increasingly hesitant to say which party they support, if in fact they do support one, because of the rabid rhetoric and practice that increasingly characterizes modern political parties. Most…

Why I Chose the Stable

Posted on October 25, 2012

When politics was done for me, I had some decisions to make. As job offers started to come in, Jane and I sat down and determined that another approach would be best for me – community activism. It took a few weeks but I eventually opted to begin by helping two London organizations that mattered to me – the London Community Foundation and a remarkable group of women endeavouring to make their mark at My Sisters’ Place. It didn’t take long before I realized I was in a world of hurt and possibility at the same time. My Sisters’ Place is located in a large old house across the street from the police station. On any given evening you’ll find about 40-50 women coming…

Preserving Neglect

Posted on October 24, 2012

It remains one of the three great lessons I learned in my time in politics and it’s even more pertinent now, some four years later. Though it was referred to in one of my earlier blogs, it stands repeating here, especially if anyone reading these words is thinking about entering politics. Seated on a lengthy plane ride with a government minister, we fell into talking of my discouragement with Question Period and especially the negative advertising that appeared to be a permanent part of the political landscape. He was immediately sympathetic, nodding in the affirmative, and at times even seeming to agree with my conclusions. It was then that he dropped the bombshell that forever changed my view of present-day Ottawa. “Glen, you’re such…

The Biggest Obstacle In Running For Politics

Posted on October 22, 2012

You want to run politically – locally, provincially, or federally. You might think that your greatest challenge will be the uber partisanship that has destroyed so much of the political legacy of compromise in Canada, and you’d have a point. This past week the city of London, Ontario found itself the centre of national attention when one of its local elected officials (a former Liberal MP) was accused of using federal funds inappropriately during his time in Ottawa. Our community has been going through difficult times these last few years, but the sight of a present government MP slagging the London official in Question Period and on national media embarrassed our community on a nation-wide stage. No charges have been laid on the official,…