The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Capitalist Diplomacy

Posted on November 29, 2013

This was my Huffington Post contribution for today on how Canada’s new foreign policy mandate has everything to do with business and little to do with diplomacy or development.  Here’s the link directly to the piece. At first blush, the recent decision of the Canadian government to shift its foreign affairs focus from diplomacy to servicing private industry came as something of a shock to many. What about our past record of being facilitators for peace? What became of our vaunted reputation in the quiet corridors of the United Nations, where we had once been effective collaborators for humanity and development? The reality is that those days have been gone for some time. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to link everything foreign to our…

Consensus Breakdown

Posted on November 28, 2013

Some folks and groups are working very hard to build workable models of consensus that can help lift our communities out of their respective doldrums.  The work is relentless and the rewards often slow in developing.  If what we have been watching on the global stage recently then we might very well have to redouble our efforts – an imposing task. It is a remarkable and ironic development that an emerging international sense of solidarity on climate change fell apart right as the catastrophic effects of Typhoon Haiyan were devastating the Philippines.  There are lessons to be learned from what transpired during those critical hours of international brinksmanship. To drive the point home concerning the link between Haiyan and climate change, the Philippine head…

The Appearance of Evil

Posted on November 27, 2013

Yesterday we spoke of the distinctions between law and policy and how citizens must develop healthy opposition to both when they are either unjust (law) or ineffective (policy). We shouldn’t just assume that law itself is only interested in rock solid evidence or historical precedent.  There are times when the legal establishment gives a judgment that provides great insight into how we should behave.  This is especially true for office holders and their responsibilities. A few years ago, Supreme Court of Canada justices made some revealing comments concerning how politicians are supposed to behave.  It was about a case in Newfoundland, where a politician put his wife on the payroll and then sought to continue on as though all was normal.  Something like this…

“Elysium” and Civil Disobedience

Posted on November 26, 2013

“It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen,” said Aristotle.  In other words, our individual strengths, as important as they are, can never reach their full capacity until will apply them to the broader world around us – our community of citizens. This is how a number of societies, filled with good people, fell apart.  The same people watched as growing inequities, even injustices occurred around them, and failed to pick up the cause and struggle for the greater good.  Thus, law-abiding individuals and their families remained behind a veil of distance as entire populations suffered in Germany and Poland, Czechoslovakia and South Africa, India and Guatemala, and the streets of the American south and the…

We Get What We Vote For

Posted on November 20, 2013

    “When a tree falls,” says author Jocelyn Murray, “it resounds with a thundering crash; and yet a whole forest grows in silence.”  That is what has been happening with the ongoing saga of Rob Ford these days, and it’s a troubling portend, not just of political corruption, but of citizen ambivalence. There is something so remarkably foolish about it all.  Those from the Right side of the political spectrum have remained largely silent because … well, he’s been one of their poster boys.  And those on the Center/Left have piled it on, reminding everyone they could concerning the sheer moral depravity of the man. But it is the citizenry that appears surprisingly mute – not in the coffee shops or other social…