The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Finding the Larger Voice

Posted on May 29, 2014

  WHEN FAMED POET, MAYA ANGELOU, DIED YESTERDAY, it’s likely that few knew just what a remarkable life she led. It would be like watching a major Hollywood movie. For those of us who have written poetry for years she was a seminal influence because of her ability to speak about her personal life in ways that somehow transcended it. We know about the good stuff – over 30 honourary degrees, awards by the dozens, producer of plays, movies, and television programs, a civil rights advocate who worked with Martin Luther King Jr., a popular professor and a famed orator. But then there were her shadow years. At the age of eight she was sexually abused and raped by her mother’s boyfriend. She was…

What Did You Expect?

Posted on May 27, 2014

  I WAS IN THE PUBLIC GALLERY WELL IN ADVANCE OF THE London’s Planning Division’s unveiling of their landmark work, titled “The London Plan”. As the gallery filled up to capacity, as did the adjoining overflow room, it became readily apparent to me that I was witnessing the preliminary machinations of democratic war. Not the one party versus the other party kind that has no deadened the political space in our world, but the variety that pitted a remarkably dedicated citizen movement against their elected representatives in what has become a very high stakes game – the future of London, Ontario. There’s no requirement to go into the details here; they are remarkably well laid out on ReThink’s website. Details are important, vital even, but…

The Hole in the Stuffed Shirt

Posted on May 22, 2014

  DESPITE THE FACT THAT MUCH HAS BEEN SPOKEN AND WRITTEN about it, I often find myself wondering if we really know what the public space is. Those fighting for their communities talk about it all the time, as do those who vigilantly hold to free speech. Is it shared transportation, parks, open concepts, shared venues, tax dollars at work, arts enthusiasts, or Internet freedom? I spent much of yesterday asking people to define the public space for me and heard a hundred answers. People love the concept but have trouble landing on its substance. Toronto has its own Public Space Committee. Good on them, but that’s a rare thing in most of our communities. Instead what we have is an idea, a kind…

Firms of Endearment

Posted on May 20, 2014

  I LOVE THIS TITLE, BUT IT DIDN’T ORIGINATE WITH ME. It came from Raj Sisodia, professor of marketing at Bentley University and formed part of the title from his book, Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit From Passion and Purpose. Sisodia is a firm believer that modern capitalism has departed from its early tenets and principles and is suffering a global meltdown in reputation as a result. He co-founded the Conscious Capitalism Institute in order to promote a dual message that capitalism has gone off course but that its recovery is essential if humanity is to progress. His is a voice we need, in part because we have too frequently castigated capitalism as the great culprit of all our ills when in…

Do You Hear the People Sing?

Posted on May 15, 2014

FOR THOSE POLITICAL AND FINANCIAL LEADERS who don’t necessarily like hearing that the status quo is under deep suspicion by citizens, communities, and groups worldwide, here are a couple of other headaches for you. Your problems are growing. Universities have always been seedbeds of reform and activism, but many will be surprised to learn that on campuses across Europe, in Tel Aviv, and New York, students of economics have gained ground in raising their opposition to their peers and mentors who feel that their field is a science and that there is little can be done. Not so, says the International Student Initiative for Pluralism in Economics – a fancy name but with a gutsy mandate. We want to ultimately create a space in which…