Glen Pearson considers himself as a “doe-eyed” 59-year-old.
I have brought all these experiences with me into politics, so I have a bit of trouble viewing myself as naive. But if the author was saying that I wouldn’t play along with the political system that surrounds me in Ottawa, I suppose that’s true. Nevertheless, I don’t want to lose that more innocent view I have of Parliament just so I could be a seasoned performer. To the House of Commons I brought the view that Parliament mattered far more than any politician or bureaucrat. Undertaking the massive challenges that face Canadians at the moment calls out for the very best in us, including our ideals. I know very well how brutal the Diefenbaker-Pearson years were now that I’m older, but I still recall the respect they permitted a little boy to witness. Ottawa can rip that respectfulness out of you, however, if you just play along, and soon enough skepticism and rank partisanship can become your worldview – not a good thing for any public servant. Ideals aren’t about naivete, but about our resolve to put the public good above all else. To lose that is not about losing your ideals but more about losing yourself to those crass political practices that inevitably diminish us as observers in Ottawa. I pray every day that God will protect me from a fate as disillusioning as that.