The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Twitter and Growing Out of Touch

Posted on October 29, 2015

SO, TWITTER HAS ENCOUNTERED SOME TURBULENCE, and not for the first time.  The company’s quarterly earnings report sent its stock price circling downwards. But it’s even worse than that, as former users in significant numbers abandon what had once been a popular platform for quick and incisive communication in favour of more pleasing options such as Snapchat and Instagram. Michelle Fleury, BBC business reporter, suggested yesterday that Twitter execs consider how Wall Street sees them. Twitter’s inability to add significant numbers of new users has got investors thinking that the company’s best days might have passed. Twitter let go 8% of its workforce in an effort to appease investors, but unless new users come aboard quickly, Twitter, once the darling of the social media…

If You Want to Fix Poverty, Fix the Economy

Posted on October 27, 2015

HE AWOKE FROM A DEEP SLUMBER A couple of weeks ago to the sound of phone ringing incessantly, but when he answered he didn’t mind. Angus Deaton was being informed by someone on the other end of the phone that he was being awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Science. Interestingly, it was how he shed new light on persistent poverty that earned him the credit. Or as the Nobel committee put it: “To design economic policy that promotes welfare and reduces poverty, we must first understand individual consumption choices. Angus Deaton has enhanced this understanding.” Deaton wasn’t so much focused on large market trends as on the average household and how choices are made within it. The Nobel committee has recently honoured a…

Election 2015: The Son Outshines the Father

Posted on October 21, 2015

  My new Huffington Post piece on how Justin Trudeau’s victory was greater than his fathers – http://goo.gl/qYtK2R   ‘PEOPLE EXPECT WHAT THEY EXPECT,” says Vaibhav Mehta, “But they never realize the possibility of surprise beyond expectations.” It is a sentiment that, just as good as any, describes what happened on Election Night 2015. Justin Trudeau accomplished what many thought impossible, or at the very least improbable. Regardless of what one may have thought of the remarkable results, it reminded everyone that the Canadian people, subtle and polite as they are, hold within them the seeds of quiet revolution, occasionally teaching us that even in the familiar there can be surprise and wonder. Almost every prediction was wrong. Virtually no one expected the early…

Election 2015: Citizens and Power

Posted on October 14, 2015

IT’S BECOMING CLEAR THAT THINGS ARE MOVING dynamically in this final week in the run-up to the election. Interest is growing. Voters are changing their minds. The media are having a field day. But on October 20, with the election done, everything settles back into that one great goal: the possession of power. A feeling develops in Ottawa that the winners have been legitimized by a process of voting that now gives them sway to carry out their own designs. It’s as if democracy is all about the vote and never about the four years following. There’s been much hoopla about the increase in advance voting as compared to the last election, and it is encouraging. As citizens we are coddled, prompted to dream,…

Election 2015 and the One-Percent

Posted on October 8, 2015

IT WAS ONLY A WEEK AGO THAT PUNDITS were arguing if “change” was really a factor in the campaign. Things weren’t shaking up much and parties appeared to be in a kind of holding pattern. Not anymore. Movement is showing up in the polling numbers and a sense of new life is emerging in this long campaign season. Voter sentiment is getting aroused and now media coverage is talking about change in its stories. Will it be enough to set us in a new direction as a country? If you asked someone like American activist Ralph Nader you might be encouraged by his answer. Honoured by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th Century, Nader thinks that citizens really…

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