The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Managing Poverty

Posted on March 29, 2012

After 25 years you’d think we’d be used to it. But by the time I walked into the food bank for the press conference for our 25th annual Spring Food Drive I sensed something different inside of myself. The number of families we were helping was huge (3660 a month in January), but that wasn’t it. Londoners had given enough food to fill a warehouse, but it wasn’t that either. The volunteers were bustling around the warehouse and front area, displaying a remarkable commitment to their community. Yet after a few moments observing them, I knew it was more than such an inspiring sight. And then it dawned on me. All this work, and generosity, and need, and struggle – we were managing poverty.…

On Protest and Power

Posted on March 25, 2012

The rush to the middle is killing the historical political construct – Thomas Mulcair’s victory as the new leader of the NDP assures it. The lack of political identity, I have come to believe, is part of what is turning Canadians off from politics. I know about the partisan bickering, the occasional scandal, voter suppression, and the permanent campaign, but these alone wouldn’t be enough to turn almost half of this country off from voting. A further contributing factor is that Canadians have reached a conclusion they hadn’t in times previous – politics is all about … politics. Real political debate has been missing for years, having lost much of its meaning for the left, the centre, and the right.  Some viewed such ideological…

Public Defacement

Posted on March 23, 2012

Our town hasn’t been used to such exposure in a long time. The ElectroMotive plant closing of a few weeks ago gained significant attention, but even it paled in comparison to the Fleming Street riot that for a brief moment seemed to turn our community into some kind of scene from a G8 summit. Other than the appearance of a CTV news vehicle turned over, set ablaze, then eventually exploding, the physical damage was more or less contained. The same can’t be said of the trauma, not to mention embarrassment, the entire incident caused our civic leaders, educational institutions, citizens, and property owners. Thanks to social and traditional media, the entire drama unfolded in real-time, providing Londoners with a developing image gallery of vandalism…

Right to Community – Breaking Out

Posted on March 22, 2012

It’s in the nature of living that we grow accustomed to thinking of our daily activities in cyclical fashion. Given the length of history, it is amazing how this circular existence only gave way to concepts of progress in recent centuries. For millennia – since the beginning of written history – human communities thought of themselves, not as moving forward in progressive steps into the unknown, but actually as functioning within familiar cycles. The most basic way our ancient ancestors discerned the passage of time was through the movement of the seasons – spring, summer, fall, and winter.  Our communities structured themselves around those changes of the climate. Religious festivals followed the seasons. Then the movements of the moon began figuring in prominently in…

Right to Community – From Manipulation to Meaning

Posted on March 20, 2012

Canadian democracy, like most advanced democracies around the world, displays the strong tendency to be concerned over what people believe instead of what is true, to be lulled into being persuaded by perception rather than reality. Millennia ago, even Plato warned against the propensity to permit persuasion to overshadow the problem of knowledge. In the modern Canadian context such problems are only magnified by the instant communication and countless images that flood our senses. Take a citizenry, especially of the mass-consumer and tech savvy variety, and the potential is huge for fabrication, half-truths, misnomers, outright lies, and innuendo. While such things remain a temptation in fields like advertising, politics can now be added. Why? Because such perpetrators know we are vulnerable to manipulation and…