The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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The Death and Life of Trust

Posted on March 25, 2014

HAVE PEOPLE BEEN NOTICING AN INCREASING amount of commentary on the importance of cities in these past few months?  I hope so, because it represents an emerging wave of frustration that has been building up in recent years concerning the growing lack of investment in everything from infrastructure to economic development.  The Globe and Mail recently published an entire section on the subject and research writers are putting more urgency into their observations of how those places in which we live are being placed in difficult situations in everything from immigration to investment in the next generation.  It’s only right that this debate should be occurring on the heels of our greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression.  Everything has been about what cities…

The Mayor for PM?

Posted on March 20, 2014

THERE WAS A FASCINATING SPECIAL SECTION in the Globe and Mail this past week asking why it is that cities – those places where some 80% of Canadians live – fall so far down the political pecking order and wondering if things can’t be altered to provide them more power in the decision-making process. This isn’t a new subject.  In fact it’s been raised repeatedly on three continents.  For the first time in world history, this past year witnessed over 50% of the global population now living in urban centres.  Most of the economic, technological, social and research innovation emanates from our cities, so it only stands to reason that as the human condition evolves those larger places where we live should take on…


Posted on March 18, 2014

In his Inertia Variations, John Tottenham, includes a section called “A View From a Hill,” in which he concludes: I am not yet quite over it. I am lying down on top of it. Surveying behind me a wasteland Of dried-up promise. While the lights below twinkle With dull mocking uncertainty. There isn’t much left to look forward to, And the looking forward of the past has been belied. My family and I had one of those very experiences last week as we visited Ottawa and skated along the Rideau Canal – a family ritual.  It had been two years since I had been to my old stomping grounds and I found myself wondering how I’d feel about seeing Parliament Hill once more. As…

Recapturing Time

Posted on March 11, 2014

MUCH OF WHAT WE HAVE BUILT OVER THE decades has proved to be a waste.  Think of the dilapidated structures, hollowed-out cores, and worn-out streets.  Worse still is the human fallout: poverty, hunger, homelessness, chronically unemployed, and the loss of young talent that opted to ply their abilities elsewhere. All this befell us in our rush to what seemed to be individual prosperity.  While all the above was transpiring, we were purchasing bigger homes, more cars, and the amenities of wealth.  We didn’t realize there was a great disconnect going on, that our own affluence might be coming at the price of our communities and our troubled fellow citizens. And now we all stand together asking, “What happened?  With so much money floating around…

The People’s Army

Posted on March 5, 2014

EVERY MORNING ENTIRE FAMILIES WOULD WAKE UP,  emerge from their houses and face the devastation from the night before.  They were called “The People’s Army” – a suitable phrase, given all that they had to endure.  Every night forces from a distant part of Europe filled the sky with airplanes and bombs, leaving nothing but devastation in their wake.  Adolf Hitler, their leader, felt it was only a matter of time until he broke the will of the so-called People’s Army. We now know how badly he underestimated the will of a people once they had set about the business of protecting their communities.  The people of England, Wales and Scotland arose every day to “reset” their cities and villages, restoring their way of…