The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Peace’s Missing Component

Posted on April 26, 2018

The headlines have been fairly consistent.  “Canada Introduces a New Era in Peacekeeping,” notes Legion magazine.  “UN Peacekeeping in a New Era,” is the title of a policy piece by the Routledge Group.  The Globe and Mail headline read, “Liberals Grapple with a New Era of Peacekeeping.” It’s remains a difficult thing to discern exactly what this new era entails, but with much of the emphasis on troops, helicopters, the risks and dysfunctional nations overseas, we could be missing the most important resource.  One headline from 2015 asked a key question: “Peacekeeping Has Evolved: Is Canada Ready?”  Well, that depends on if, and how, that resource is utilized. The resource is women, in all of their wisdom, lived experience, survival skills, military knowledge, understanding…

Labyrinth

Posted on April 26, 2018

The thing about rage only two decades into the 21stcentury is that it’s everywhere.  In past eras it brewed in turbulent hotspots – the Middle East, India-Pakistan, the Balkans, the Congo, Nicaragua, among others – usually far away and, in consequence, far from our minds.  But the individual and collective anger has spread to normally stable places around the globe – Germany, France, Norway, Britain and most obviously in the United States. In his Meditations, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius cogently noted, “How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.”  It seems to me that some are coming to terms with this observation.  The “age of rage” has been rolling on for years and the change which that kind…

A City’s Potential Stifled By Self-Doubt

Posted on April 24, 2018

The quote holds out hope for what a mid-sized city can become: “These cities have the potential to become leaders of sustainable and inclusive city-building initiatives across Canada.” It’s posted on the website of Evergreen Canada, a group coming to London on May 15-16 to see if we can make the cut as a municipality dynamic enough to carve out a more prosperous and meaningful future for itself. That Evergreen is coming to London at all, in co-operation with numerous local organizations, might be a sign that it values our potential, but it could just as well be a recognition that we are floundering enough as a community that we could use some outside help. It’s tough in a country as spread out as…

Our Shared Humanity

Posted on April 22, 2018

Born a few minutes apart, they had a scant 30 weeks together before the death of their mother in war wrenched them away from each other.  They were identical twins, sharing the mystery of human DNA, and they deserved to face the world together.  It was not to be. Five years later, however, in a remarkable movement of destiny, they looked upon each other once again, confused at seeing their image so clearly represented on another face.  When informed they were twins, identical, they reached out, took the other’s hand, and wandered off to play soccer – hundreds of eyes on them lost in wonder. Today, Abuk and Achan turn 18.  Jane and I have watched them grow up every day, etching their height…

Bringing It Home

Posted on April 20, 2018

Last week I attended an annual outdoor lunch that raises awareness over the state of homelessness in our city.  It’s a powerful mix of housing advocates, policy makers, media and most important of all, homeless individuals seeking a better world. On the same day The Guardian published what turned out to be a timely piece titled, “Finland has found the answer to homelessness.  It couldn’t be simpler.”  It was the kind of headline meant to quickly draw the reader into its rationale that defeating homelessness isn’t perhaps as complex as we thought. But first the bad news.  The article reminded its British readers that, whether they liked it or not, they were tolerating a homelessness situation that was becoming a national embarrassment: The number…

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