The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “democratic decline

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,…

Go For It

Posted on October 16, 2012

By now we’ve all heard of Malala Yousafzai,  the 14-year old Pakistani education advocate who was attacked on her school bus last week by the Taliban. It happened in the largest village in the Swat valley and left her almost dead from shots to the head and neck. This week she was flown to a Birmingham hospital in England that is a specialized facility that treated British soldiers wounded in Afghanistan. Over 50 Muslim clerics have denounced the Taliban assassins. So much has been written on this young heroine that we need not say anything more here – except for one thing. In a statement released just prior to the shooting she spoke of a change of priorities in her young life. “I had…

Democracy in Reverse

Posted on May 3, 2012

The challenges were immense, but I took it on as a task of goodwill. We had been asked to assist in the peace negotiations between north and south Sudan, held in Kenya, and mediated by a very able and respected Kenyan ex-general. Taking part in peace exercises in Bangladesh, Ireland and Guatemala provided some training, but this was huge. It had been Africa’s longest-running civil war and everything was on the table – religion, tribalism, race relations, oil, the rights of women, etc. There were to be three rounds of negotiations held over a couple of years – extensive, frustrating, and not a little bit exhausting. But what else was Canada going to do? We believed in democracy and supported United Nations efforts for…

You Say You Want A Revolution?

Posted on December 2, 2011

In fairness, those who corrupt language for the sake of an agenda could only get away with it if their hearers blindly accept what’s being said. For most of Canada’s existence there was a kind of fairness indicator or ethical monitor operating in the Canadian context that, while understanding language was often used to achieve a certain goal, would push back if there was deceit or even lying in the effort. Times have changed; the fabrications within advertising have found their kin in federal politics. We understand that most claims made in television commercials are excessive, even misleading, but we accept it as standard procedure. But we never extended that grace to politics, at least not very far. To capture just how far our…

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