A strange request


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.


A strange request

  1. I don’t see that as very strange… when I was a page at Queen’s Park in my formative years, whispered conversations between members from both sides of the floor would spur on questions back to the Government on an interest that a Government backbencher shared with a opposition member.

    And surely this is discussed in the hallways in the multi-partisan caucuses such as the “rail caucus”, etc.

  2. Not strange at all – it just show there’s honorable politicians of all parties.

  3. Why would the Conservative MP not ask the questions himself, either in caucus or in QP?
    Surely a well-reasoned attack from within one’s own ranks would have more effect than an opposition attack.

    • What’s to say he hasn’t? He may have already tried that avenue and was shut down. Makes sense to go to the public as a next step (via the opposition).

      If Glen Pearson’s friend was the only person who spoke out in caucus against it, Pearson’s account may be assuring they aren’t friends anymore…

    • She asked with a slight smirk and a twinkle in her eye, knowing full well the obvious answer to her own rhetorical question.

      • Ah… I didn’t read sarcasm into that. Funny thing the typewritten language…

  4. No worries. I’m sure a good ol’ fashioned pogrom within the Conservative party will ferret out the traitor to the people. Uncle Steve has got to keep a handle on this sort of thing!

  5. Perhaps you could tweet like JK, then we would know for sure it was real!

  6. It’s not surprising at all.

    Cross-party associations are not only possible, they’re encouraged. In private, out of view of the cameras and out of hearing of the microphones, coooperation is the norm; it’s the only way to get good work done on legislation and oversight.

    The Tory MP isn’t a traitor, because he wasn’t appointed by the party; instead, he was elected by his constituents. And some of those constituents, which he knew personally, opposed those Africa aid cuts. And if he can’t raise concerns against the government (thereby jeopardizing some of the other work he does, on behalf of his constituents) then the next best thing is to get a sympathetic member of the Opposition to do so.

    What I also find interesting is the tail end of Pearson’s post: why haven’t the NDP/Libs been more aggressive on the aid issue? His answer: because the economy’s been dominating the headlines, and Parliament *always* reacts to the headlines. It’s why getting people to pay attention to civilian efforts in Afghanistan has always been an uphill struggle.

    • Cross party associations – in this minority parliament? They worked for Pearson and Trudeau, Steve takes another view methinks. If i’m wrong, i’d like to see the evidence for it.

  7. What a dirty thing for Glen to write. My respect for him just dropped a whole bunch.
    A CPC member tries to build a front on an issue for something of common interest and this is the repayment. You would think that if the issue was so important to Glenn he would of just shut up and run with it. Whatever bond that could have been built is likely shattered.
    Way to work for African Aid Glenn.

  8. Funny really…
    Blind obedience to PMO policy required from a party that once proudly trunpeted its grassroots origins – and one that wraps itself in a Christian mantle – being criticized by church organizations.

    All points to a party that has lost its way and has absolutely no moral compass!

  9. This sort of thing is hardly unheard of. Liberals working on early-childhood development used to urge interest groups to hold days of action taking the government to task for foot-dragging on early childhood development. I told Paul Martin once, when he was finance minister, that it was getting time to do another program review and he said,”you should write that!” Which was odd because he was the finance minister. But outside pressure can be very handy if you’re trying to move a complex risk-averse system.

    Pearson may discover over time that fewer Conservative MPs are willing to confide in him. I’m sure he will be disappointed that they don’t value his transparency.

    • Yes, I’m sure the anonymous Conservative MP is reevaluating his friendship with Glen Pearson, given that Glen has posted enough clues to allow the anonymous MP to be identified by members of his own party.

      • Does his own party care? I mean, this is only damaging if anyone besides the inside baseball crowd here picks up on it.

      • It’s a Conservative MP from Western Canada who goes to a church that funds overseas development.

        Yep, that definitely narrows it down to one specific person.

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