The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Planned Poverty

Posted on October 31, 2013

It all sounded to good to be true, and it likely is.  A column this week in the Atlantic held the captivated heading, “How To Cut Poverty Rate in Half (It’s Easy).”  If only. The piece proposes something like a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI), or Basic Income (BI), for those living in poverty.  Other nations have explored such possibilities and many in Canada are holding it out as a new way to defeat poverty.  I agree and support the initiative, but have come to see that it is likely the only way ahead due to a lack of imagination and resolve in this country. In 1992, I was asked to address some members of the Mulroney cabinet on a paper I had written regarding…

Time to Roar?

Posted on October 30, 2013

Tonight is an important date for the London, Ontario group Pints and Politics.  The entire occasion centers on one key question Canadians have been asking for decades: Where are all the women in politics? There were various ways that question could have been put: Why won’t women run? Are there barriers to women entering the political spectrum?  Is it all just a man’s game?  They are all equally valid but the answers have been frustratingly slow in emerging.  Those attending the event tonight will get their chance to add their own perspective. I was in India when singer Helen Reddy released her chart-topping single I Am Woman.  By the time I arrived back home it had won the Grammy for 1972, became the theme…

Bombed Out

Posted on October 24, 2013

Okay, I admit it.  I’ve been kind of discouraged this week, and it’s been difficult to summon up the urge to write amidst all the hoopla flooding the airwaves and social media venues.  I fervently believe in our collective need for an integral kind of politics and the need to discover and develop workable solutions for some of our greatest challenges as a society. Instead, the word “bombshell” received repeated use in the media in the past couple of days.  It was like a three-ring circus, with centre stage being occupied by a Senate scandal unlike anything else we have seen in Canada in recent memory.  Hearing the words of Mike Duffy stating that the Prime Minister knew all about his difficulties and ordered…

History’s Trick

Posted on October 18, 2013

There were many good responses to these last few blog posts on the future of work – some very worth exploring. But largely our leaders of politics and economics just return our questions with a deafening silence.  At the moment, there is no inclination to deal with the problem of the slow disappearance of work. Political theorist, Judith Shklar, used to maintain that work is more crucial to the core values of democracy than anything else, including family or even government.  Shklar died some 20 years ago, just at the onset of burgeoning unemployment. What would she think of her theory today, now that work has been demeaned, or worse, done away with altogether?  Even if she were partially correct, then the loss of…

The Precipice

Posted on October 17, 2013

A number of folks responded to yesterday’s blog and wondered what the solutions might be to a future without work.  Those answers are beyond my knowledge.  I know that in my time in politics that the subject was rarely broached.  But at different non-political sessions I attended (university seminars, United Nations special panels), the subject was front and centre and carried with it its own growing body of research that points to a difficult future. Perhaps what is required is an entirely new look at how modern societies function and the role that work – physical, mental, emotional – can play in arenas outside of economic production.  What would happen if, in addition to production, we moved employment in the post-industrial world to embrace…