A strange request - Macleans.ca

A strange request

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Glen Pearson gets a phone call.

Ironically, I was in discussion with some constituents this weekend in my office when I received a call from a Conservative MP from another part of the country – a friend who shares many of my non-partisan views. He wanted to talk Africa, specifically the recent cuts made by his own government to development funds to eight African nations. We had discussed many things over the last two years, but to my knowledge we had never conferred on Africa itself.

After excusing myself from the meeting, I listened in surprise as he told me of the sharply negative response he had received from some members of his church concerning the aid cuts. It turns out he’s a member of a committee in that congregation that is funding a couple of programs in one of the very countries that just had its long-term funding cut. I listened reflectively, feeling my own anger mount again as I remembered the shock to my own system when I heard of the government’s “mean shift” away from Africa.

Then a strange request: Would I be willing to be more aggressive in the House concerning the cuts, seeking at least a time of reappraisal of the results of such a decision. Let me get this straight: a member of the government was asking me to be more forceful in opposition? Indeed, we are living in strange times.