The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts from the “Personal” Category

Hunger vs Famine: The Vital Distinction

Posted on August 7, 2017

It’s one of the great ironies of our age – learning that millions are being lifted out of desperate poverty at the same time as millions more are falling into famine. Thanks to system change many of what are termed the “bottom billion” are finding their lives slightly improved. Yet it is also because of the lack of human intervention – the worst possible kind – that hunger has huge populations on the brink of starvation. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are offering some hope through a vast collaborative global effort. At the same time, regional conflict, corruption, mismanagement and apathy are thrusting millions in the vortex of extinction. When the United Nations recently announced that some 20 million people in four countries…

Good Politics

Posted on May 9, 2017

This post can be found in its original on National Newswatch here. John Buchan was a Scottish novelist, historian and politician who embarked on these three careers at roughly the same time. His novel The Thirty-Nine Steps remains a classic. He also just happened to be Canada’s 15th Governor-General (1935-1940). A key to his long and diverse career is found in his autobiography: “Public life is regarded as the crown of a career, and to young men it is the worthiest of ambition. Politics is still the greatest and most honourable adventure.” I quoted this passage during a speech recently, only to be met with a baffled response. It wasn’t hard to see why: few look at politics in such lofty terms. In reality,…

The Sacrificial Bond

Posted on April 16, 2017

An old sage once observed that, “the greatest sacrifice is when you sacrifice your own happiness for the sake of someone else.” The modern age isn’t so sure of that principle anymore. The term “sacrifice” summons up thoughts of loss, pain, foregoing of resources, even life itself. Our daily lives cater more to the concept of self-improvement and our economic choices frequently reflect that reality. We aim too low. It remains one of the great ironies of modern life that our heroes are frequently those whose lives barely resemble ours. When Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai visited Ottawa this past week, it was something like a spiritual event. We understood what she had given up in order to raise her voice for the cause…

Enduring in Epic Times

Posted on April 10, 2017

It was the first bold political development of the new millennium, full of cautious hope and promise, and it’s now flirting with disaster. We were in South Sudan as international observers in 2011, as people voted by a huge margin for the right to establish their own independent state. Subsequently, the Republic of South Sudan became the world’s newest nation. The mood within the country was euphoric, but the caution felt by the international community was well placed. It was one thing to form a united southern front against the northern government of Sudan in the decades-long great war, but would the southern tribes, many historically at odds with one another, be able to hold it together to enable the successful birth of the…

It’s the Little Things That Matter

Posted on April 6, 2017

When our planet seems to heading off in all directions all at once we face the tendency of following it. Do that for long enough and we end up having opinions without wisdom, goals without direction, and speed without depth. It can leave us all emotionally spent. Consider this observation from David Brooks: “The noises of fast and shallow communications makes it harder to hear the quieter sounds that emanate from the depths. We live in a culture that teaches us to promote and advertise ourselves and to master the skills required for success, but that gives little encouragement to humility, sympathy and honest self-confrontation, which are necessary for building character.” There’s that word again – character. We think we know what it means…

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