The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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The Weak Man’s Imitation

Posted on January 28, 2016

IT WAS OBAMA’S LAST STATE OF THE UNION address, so he threw out the challenge to the entire chamber – “Fix our politics.” That sent all sides scrambling to lay blame on others for the sorry state of the political order in the United States. Yet the reality is that they are all to blame. With the present campaign under way there are virtually no signs that anything will get fixed. Which isn’t really what people hoped for in Canada. Our national election behind us, following a decade of dysfunctional politics in Parliament, there was a subtle hope that the nastiness of Question Period and the relationship between the parties would show signs of improvement. With Parliament resuming this week it had the sad…

Davos: The Ever-Missing Gender Lens

Posted on January 27, 2016

THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM IN Davos, Switzerland last week captured a lot of attention, not all of it positive. Sessions were held in the growing fear that elite figures in finance, government, and the entertainment industry are no longer in control of the direction in which our planet is headed. A clear sign of what’s wrong was obvious just in the makeup of the participants. Around 18% of them were women – that’s it. In 2002 that number was 9%, and in 2011 it was 16%. True, things are heading in the proper direction, but, seriously, this is trite and incremental stuff – hardly worthy of true leadership, especially on a global level. What’s truly frustrating about this fundamental lack of progress at Davos is…

Betrayed by Silence

Posted on January 22, 2016

“I AM NOT A SAINT, UNLESS YOU think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying,” Nelson Mandela said reflectively. It’s hardly an accident that the former South African human rights champion looked on Martin Luther King Jr. as one of his guiding lights. Both men were flawed, yet they endured against significant odds, believing in their ideals when others thought they should pull back. Robert Louis Stevenson would have agreed with Mandela’s observation: “Saints are sinners who kept on going.” All this week we have been dealing with the life of Martin Luther King Jr., noting his power of rhetoric and ideals, his refined sense of justice, and his deep understanding of human nature. There is ever the tendency to turn…

Would Martin Luther King Jr. Have Supported the TPP?

Posted on January 21, 2016

  JUSTIN TRUDEAU WAS IN DAVOS, SWITZERLAND, at the World Economic Forum yesterday reminding the world’s elite that Canada was a great place in which to invest. That’s exactly what prime ministers are supposed to be doing. The key issue however is how to invest. Our new Prime Minister has an important decision to make regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal involving 12 countries. Many have warned that this isn’t about trade at all but about the growing ability of corporate business interests to affect domestic policy. The rather stark opposition to the deal from a litany of civil society groups, economists like Jeffrey Sachs, Joseph Stiglitz, and the founder of Research in Motion, Jim Balsillie – all normally strong promoters of globalization, has…

50 Years Ago, Martin Luther King Jr. Said We Had the Resources to End Poverty. What Happened?

Posted on January 20, 2016

ALL THIS WEEK WE’LL BE LOOKING at the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and if it still has a prevailing effect on the modern era. He had certain core principles he stuck to, elaborated upon, and ultimately died for. We respect him. We quote him. Some even venerate him. But in so many ways we have refused to walk the path he led. The day following his receiving of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, King delivered his famous Nobel Lecture titled, “The Quest for Peace.” His reasonings didn’t go in the direction people anticipated. He wondered how we can really have peace, or even maintain it, if we continue to leave large swaths of our populations in poverty. Then he delivered a stark…

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