The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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The Thaw

Posted on June 23, 2016

WE QUIETLY WORKED OUR WAY ACROSS THE ALEXANDRA BRIDGE this week in the stillness of a beautiful summer morning at 3:45 a.m. Nothing was happening. Few cars crossed the span, but that was it – everything else was just the swirling sound of the Ottawa River. But as we drew closer to the Museum of History on the Quebec side, across from Parliament, we heard a quiet stirring of voices on the shoreline just below the museum itself. These were the folks Jane and I had come to find. It was almost impossible to detect the identities of those quietly shuffling around on the grass – sunrise was still an hour off. Most were quiet, but all knew their purpose for their meeting. This was…

Too Soon Gone

Posted on June 21, 2016

Image by Getty Images Read this post in Huffington Post here LIKE MILLIONS OF OTHERS, I WATCHED in deep sadness the tragedy that befell British MP, Jo Cox – murdered brutally outside her constituency office by a lone assailant. I read the accounts in the news, followed its implications on Britain’s Brexit movement, and just overall felt a deep sadness for her family. But one image remained with me: Cox’s shoe, lying on its side, even after her body was removed. A powerful woman once filled that shoe. She was no regular political aspirant, but a true believer in the nobility of humanity and its capacity for hope and change. She had spent a decade as a relief worker for Oxfam in both the…

Angry Birds

Posted on June 14, 2016

“I ENGAGED WITH TWITTER DURING THE LAST FEDERAL ELECTION, as my interest in the party positions grew, but there’s been so much vileness tolerated on that platform that I’ve decided to just delete my account,” a friend from Montreal told me recently. It’s a sentiment one increasingly encounters, especially among Millennials. Perhaps more serious are those refraining from joining Twitter in the first place as a result of all the well publicized high-profile personal attacks on Twitter in this past year – one of the likely causes of the company’s inability to grow its market share to the degree it had hoped. As former CEO, Dick Costolo put it last year, “We suck at dealing with abuse.” All of this forms an important lesson…

Our Public Lexicon Is Changing

Posted on June 8, 2016

IN HIS FOUR QUARTETS, T. S. ELIOT reminds us that, “Last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.” For some time now, Google, through what they term “Ngram Viewer,” has been running an interesting research experiment on the words we all use, and examining that vocabulary to draw some interesting conclusions on how we are changing. By measuring word usage across all forms of media, including books and pamphlets going back years, Google has learned that we are becoming a much more highly individualized people. There has been a sharp increase in the words “self” and “personalized,” and a corresponding decrease in words like “share,” “united,” and “common good.” Words dealing with the field of business and economics…

Serious Elegance

Posted on June 2, 2016

You can read this post on National Newswatch here EVERYONE IN THE ROOM SENSED THAT PAUL MARTIN would be prime minister soon enough. There was an excitement in the air as my wife and I attended a London, Ontario event where Martin, as finance minister, was scheduled to speak on healthcare. His arrival was met with enthusiasm and he quickly warmed to his audience. Partway into his address a door closed at the rear of the hall and someone quietly entered. People whispered to one another, “It’s Jeffrey Simpson.” While the audience might have appreciated that one of the country’s best-known journalists would attend their event, the effect on Paul Martin was immediate. The finance minister is known as an engaging speaker, but his…

  

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