The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Hyper-partisanship – The Steroids of Politics

Posted on January 30, 2013

It’s become all too common and unfortunately has resulted not only in the fall of grace of numerous individuals but a corruption of the overall system. I’m talking about sport here, not politics, but the similarities are more than troubling. It’s baseball today, cycling yesterday, weight lifting before that, preceded by baseball once more, and track and field. The demand for success is so pressing, the corporate ethos regarding profits so overriding, that the professional participant finds it increasingly difficult to excel. When pitcher Curt Shilling noted that, “Steroids is cheating, and winning without honor is not winning,” who could argue? Yet the reality is something completely different and competition has now been poisoned by medical enhancements.  So, to compete at the highest levels,…

The Curse of Blind Optimism

Posted on January 29, 2013

Recently our city’s mayor, in giving his annual address, made an interesting request of a large part of London’s population: “Keep your negativity on the sideline … give good news a chance.” This is becoming increasingly difficult to accomplish in a community with frustratingly high unemployment and a deeply divided political council. Alas, such advice is increasingly received as the plaintive gesture of an ineffective political order. It is all the more remarkable considering the city’s desire to hear from average citizens about the kind of city they want. In a community struggling to find a future one can hardly expect input to be merely roses – especially with a kind of political leadership experiencing difficulty working through its own divisions. We are slowly…

Kathleen Wynne’s Victory – Look Deeper

Posted on January 28, 2013

Ontario has a new premier and her ascension is nothing if not groundbreaking – the first female and openly gay premier-designate. She ran a disciplined and largely respectful campaign and that last characteristic might have been a key reason for her ultimate victory. Repeatedly through the contest she said things like, “The rancour and the viciousness of the legislature can’t continue.” Many seasoned observers have noted that Queen’s Park has increasingly taken on the hyper-partisan characteristics of the House of Commons in Ottawa. So her emphasis on decorum and respect is a welcome signal. It was also Tweeted consistently that over 90% of Canadians are led by female provincial leaders – another positive signal. But will it last? And more importantly, can the effects…

The Necessity of Politics

Posted on January 24, 2013

I returned from south Sudan to some 4,000 emails. One was from a good friend welcoming me home. He said he has come to the conclusion that while he loves Canada with a passion, he absolutely “hates” politics. It wasn’t the first time I’ve heard this sentiment expressed and who can blame people for feeling that way?  But there is the sense of unintended disingenuous about it, for any nation that exalts patriotism without duty or engagement runs the risk of being insensitive and irrelevant. Obama touched on this theme during his Second Inaugural Address. He could have just read out a litany of accomplishments but instead focused on the great challenges yet facing America. And he reminded his listeners that hurdles like climate…

Knowing for the First Time

Posted on January 22, 2013

It was T. S. Eliot who provided one of my favourite quotes of all time: We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. On any journey there are two kinds of exploration – the journey without and the one within.  For our son Ater both melded into one as he returned to the place of his birth and at the same time attempted to piece together in his young mind and heart developments that were bound to drive him into a deeper place of maturity. The picture above is of Ater seeing his grandmother for the first time in seven years. We had only just…