The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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A Growing Crisis

Posted on October 31, 2011

Sometime this week we will supposedly reach an unprecedented milestone. According to the United Nations, the world’s population is about to reach seven billion people. We’ll never know for certain because it’s hardly an exact science, but it’s been clear for the last few years that the seven billion mark was imminent. And because we’ve been inching toward it for some time, many will ignore its larger implications. Since the beginning, approximately 100 billion people have lived and died on this planet. From that earliest moment until 1800 only one billion had accumulated. By 1920 the two billion mark had been reached. Things were changing fast. Scientific advances, better diet, and a lower rate of child mortality were having their effect. The UN reports that…

Dominos

Posted on October 28, 2011

Take a good look at this picture – a throwback to an earlier time that was great for those in the photo and not so good for their subjects. There’s Gadaffi in his early years as the new ruler of Libya. To his very left sits Abdel Nasser of Egypt, then Abdul Rahman of Yemen, and to the very right King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. These were the glory days, with Gadaffi’s youth and vigour standing in clear contrast to the brutal pictures we have seen this week of his last few minutes of life. Back then it seemed as if power was a permanent thing, to be passed on to handpicked successors when the fullness of time had come. It was not to…

The Voices

Posted on October 26, 2011

From both north and south Sudan they journeyed to Nairobi, Kenya to take on a system they could hardly comprehend. They were the average women of a beleaguered nation that had been in war too long. While peace talks were taking place nearby between northern and southern leaders, these women settled themselves in public places and attempted to use their traditionally insignificant voices to request reason from those very leaders. It had been over 20 years and the peace they had enjoyed in earlier years was broken, seemingly beyond repair. This was back in 2005, and I interviewed some of the women. What struck me at the outset was their sheer determination that they would not leave Nairobi until they were heard respectfully by…

The Real Economy Is Inclusive

Posted on October 25, 2011

I want to talk about “talk.” On Monday I spent an invigorating three hours with Jim Zacchero’s Canadian Studies 2200E class at King’s University College. The students listened respectfully, but you could tell that what they really wanted to dialogue about was the Occupy Wall Street protest. They are captivated by it. After feeling alienated from the system, they found it fascinating to watch people trying to change it through peaceful means. When asked what I thought of it all, I informed them of my agreement and respect for the protests but that it would be wasted effort if these same students didn’t start engaging and being part of the process. To be successful, the Occupy Wall Street movement will have to discover a…

The Real Economy Chooses Reform Over Resentment

Posted on October 24, 2011

In America, things perhaps reached the boiling point in March 2009. That was when the Obama administration bailed out AIG with over $150 billion and the company then proceeded to award its top executives with $165 million in retention bonuses and treated them to a $440,000 spa retreat at the prestigious St. Regis resort. Citizens, who were losing their jobs in record numbers and watching their life savings reduced to nothing, were so angered that a number of them traveled by bus to the estates of the AIG executives to speak their minds – kind of like the present Occupy Wall Street movement. The executives were forced to hire private security guards to protect themselves. Politically the resentments of that crucial time manifested themselves…

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