The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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The Nobility of Sacrifice

Posted on March 30, 2018

It’s Good Friday and with its arrival comes a willingness to speak of the term “sacrifice” and its many components.  A theme that precedes Christianity and other faiths, the sense of giving up something for a greater purpose has been with us from our very beginnings as a species and is remarkably common in the animal kingdom, especially when it comes to parents sacrificing for their young. People frequently become confused when using the word.  Yes, it’s Good Friday, and, yes, it’s that time of year when we consider how Jesus gave his own life for ideals for which he lived.  Throughout the cultures of the world there are such great examples and they remind us that life is not just something to be…

Our Relationship With Facebook Will Never Be the Same

Posted on March 27, 2018

In 2016, some 18.2 million Canadians used Facebook, and until the platform’s seismic struggles in the past two weeks that number was expected to grow to 20 million.  It has a 75% reach among Canadian internet users and has twice as high a user rate than Twitter.  More than half of Facebook users are women and 84% of young Canadians use it on a weekly basis. These numbers are staggering, making up half of all Canadians, and whether we like or not, contain serious implications for our democracy, for good or ill. Lately the “ill” part has been getting all the attention, justifiably so.  With half the country on Facebook the temptation for political manipulation is extreme and, as with south of the border,…

Tackling Seniors’ Isolation

Posted on March 24, 2018

As London sees its population age, a new reality is emerging that challenges our sense of collective well-being: seniors’ hunger and isolation. As we get older, life shifts in unexpected ways. The one-time caregiver needs some caring, the citizen needs her community, families require some assistance. It’s a subject we don’t discuss much, but the idea of older citizens lost in loneliness or pining for a meal is one of the quiet tragedies that places a lengthening shadow on community life every day. A spotlight needs to be shone on it and perhaps that’s the greatest service London’s Meals on Wheels program provides us. What started out as a humanitarian impulse in churches has now become a larger London necessity. The organization delivers more…

Closing the Distance

Posted on March 22, 2018

Speaking to an American university graduating class two years before he died, former playwright and Czech president Vaclav Havel said something that caused the auditorium to do some serious thinking: “The deeper the experience of an absence of meaning – in other words, of absurdity – the more energetically meaning is sought.” He knew his audience.  America’s youth, like those in most nations then and today, was fed up with the kind of politics that got increasingly ugly the more it grew ineffective.  Yet the final six words of his quote lit a fire – “the more energetically meaning is sought.”  It was true of those students, as it is of us.  We want more than a politics that just can’t inspire. Perhaps the…

17 Minutes That Could Change Democracy

Posted on March 20, 2018

True, the raw emotion of it has worn off somewhat, but not its memory – never the memory.  The sight of fearful students rushing out of Parkland Douglas school in Florida was, in truth, all too familiar an image on our screens – we’d seen it all before.  Problem was that all that collective angst, the outpouring of emotion and support, sympathetic news coverage that occurred in other states in other times had come to the same end – nothing.  It’s likely millions watching it all unfold thought the Parkland shooting would be little different.  It seemed like nothing could shake lukewarm or belligerent politicians, a cold and immovable organized gun lobby, or a media that diligently covered the story until they didn’t and…

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