The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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The Governing Cancer of Our Time

Posted on March 28, 2017

In what could only be seen as a stunning defeat, the author of the Art of the Deal found himself unable to close. Instead of “draining the swamp,” as he had promised, Donald Trump found himself drowning in it. Regardless of which side one stands on the recent showdown in Congress, the event signaled again that hyper-partisanship remains “the governing cancer of our time,” as David Brooks and Bill Clinton each put it. Each side blames the other, year after year, and now decade after decade, but the result always leaves good policy initiatives lying in burning ashes. In his attempt to browbeat a recalcitrant political establishment and special interest groups, President Trump invariably became part of it all, forcing the division even further.…

The Authoritarians

Posted on March 17, 2017

Perhaps more interesting than the subject of exactly where Donald Trump came from to seize the ultimate prize of the American political system is to wonder where were all the people who came out of obscurity to vote for him. The same way that nobody really gave Trump a chance early in U.S. election cycle, the same forces failed almost completely to spot the millions who would emerge to eventually put him into the Oval Office. It’s called populism, and in its own way it’s kind of crazy. A few years ago, the term “populism” was rarely heard, let alone capable of overthrowing entire governments. But now that it’s here, everyone is jumping on board and talking about how it could realign politics and…

The Dangers of Coping

Posted on March 14, 2017

They arrived in a manila package at our Calgary home one day, sometime in 1956. Our family gathered around as Dad pulled out the architectural drawings and laid them on the table. They were plans for how to construct and stock a bomb shelter in case of an atomic war. A large silver siren located on top of a long white pole occasionally reminded us of that fact, as occasionally it would emit a practice wail in preparation for the real thing. For an entire generation of Canadians, none of this is strange. The Cold War was actually heating up and the threat to human existence always seemed to hang precariously in the balance. Popular music and movies were always there to remind us…

Democracy Without Conscience Can Only Lead To Chaos

Posted on March 7, 2017

This post can also be read at Huffington Post here It’s likely time most of us agreed that we collectively have noidea where democracy is going. And if numerous polls are correct, living in such a situation is creating increased insecurity and tensions among citizens around the world. It’s at times like the present when Vaclav Havel, former independence activist, playwright, and president of Czechoslovakia, might have something to offer us, despite the fact that he died some six years ago. It wasn’t by accident that the New York Times called him the “global ambassador for conscience.” He, too, lived in a world of turbulence. With the Soviet Union breaking apart, no one was quite sure what would arise to take its place. In…

Is Our News Ripping Us Apart?

Posted on March 1, 2017

My wife and I spent some time in Ottawa last week testifying before the Human Rights Committee concerning the deteriorating situation in South Sudan. I noted a number of changes in Parliament since my sojourn there as a Member of Parliament ended six years ago, chief of which was the collective sense of tentativeness among the elected officials. That’s because the world has suddenly become far more complex, and at times threatening. Politicians are getting their information from all sides, both pro and con, and in doses that would challenge anyone. That’s mostly opposite to the challenges citizens are facing regarding how they get their information. According to a recent Abacus Data survey, Canadians are becoming increasingly addicted to social media as their preferred…

  

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