The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Young At Heart … Again

Posted on May 31, 2012

So now it’s out there: Canada’s a greying nation. No one’s really surprised by this; we’ve been warned about it for a decade. The real issue is what we do about it. All this is especially holds true for politics, where new research on the subject has been matched by commentary stating that aging Baby Boomers spell gold for Stephen Harper. The reasoning is simple: seniors primarily vote Conservative because they get to keep more of their money. Maybe. Maybe not. For these next few blogs I want to focus on why I believe the federal Liberal party, in search of a new mandate, should start moving carefully in the opposite direction. Forget the search for the centre – that’s now passé. We need…

A Government Eating Its Young

Posted on May 29, 2012

The following is a piece I penned for the Huffington Post, laying out the sad story of how one government MP, for a brief moment, attempted to hold politics to a new standard and ultimately was felled by the old political structure itself. Seriously, what else did we expect? Like some kind of flash of alternate reality, newly-minted Conservative MP David Wilks stood up for a brief moment to the oppressive politics of the day and informed his constituents he would vote against Bill C-38 — Stephen Harper’s omnibus bill that will wipe out decades of progress and some important Canadian history along with it. But David Wilks is merely a caricature of everything that is wrong with federal politics at present. His attempt to live…

The Long Road Home

Posted on May 29, 2012

Of all our numerous undertakings, our work in Sudan over the last 15 years has stretched us the most. Something about attempting to function in what was then Africa’s largest country and in the continent’s longest running civil war helps you mature pretty quickly. When we first journeyed to the region in order to fight slavery we were totally in over our heads – and we knew it. Moreover, we had CBC television and the London Free Press along with us for the duration and feeling a sense of responsibility for their protection when you’re trying to learn the situation yourself was a sobering exercise. And yet it was life-altering. We had walked into history and we sensed it every minute. It had taken…

We Are What We Affect

Posted on May 28, 2012

For anyone inclined to participate in citizen engagement it is essential to understand not only why it is important but also why it often fails to attract the support it deserves. Citizens aren’t blank slates or some kind of customer base that we can manipulate at will. They come from somewhere and their lived experience will often dictate how they respond. That is one of the reasons why the Boomers, Gen X’ers and Gen Y’ers respond in different fashions in general. Ever heard of the field of study in psychology labeled “attachment theory?” It’s not so much about the “bonding” experience as it is how individuals will access the world around them. It’s really about the importance of two-way communication in a person’s life…

Some Reflections on Citizen Engagement

Posted on May 25, 2012

Last evening I was part of a panel that included journalist and filmmaker Phil McLeod, former civic politician Gina Barber, and myself, who were asked to speak on the subject of citizen engagement in a venue held by London’s Citizen’s Panel. We were selected because all three of us have blogged repeatedly on this subject. Below are highlights of my remarks to those assembled. Throughout North America, and in Europe, we continue to hear the refrain in the troubling days of democracy – “We need to take back the public space.” The sentiment is clear. Yet it would be valid to say that we as citizens never had the public space. Other than in our earliest days, we opted to have decisions made by…