The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts from the “progressive centre” Category

Between Two Worlds

Posted on January 31, 2018

In a modern hurried-up world, they rank as some of the least understood or acknowledged forces for policy, diplomacy, human justice or humanitarianism.  There are less than 200 of them in a world of billions and inevitably become the face of their country. I’m speaking of ambassadors.  They are everywhere and nowhere at the same time.  They aren’t the celebrity type, appointed by UNICEF or other vast organizations because of their profile.  Instead, most have gone through years of foreign service training that includes a background in foreign aid, conflict management, military functioning, and communications. In Canada’s case, our international reputation owes much to the high quality of diplomatic acumen in key regions of the globe, especially during the formative years of the 1940s,…

Public Places Shape Civil Society

Posted on January 31, 2018

He called it “the Third Place,” and though most haven’t heard of it, the name has remained an intriguing part of the vision many community activists have for our quality of life. Urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg, in his book Celebrating the Third Place (2000), tried to imagine what our communities would look like without all the coffee shops, bars, stores, parks, streets, celebrations, gardens and neighbourhood stores that serve as casual intersections where citizens cross paths. His conclusion? They simply wouldn’t function as effective living spaces. Oldenburg identified “third places” as those locations where the public meets between the “first place” (home) and the “second place” (work). They have existed in every community for centuries, though some observers worry that, with ever-expanding suburbia, third…

2018’s Greatest Danger to Democracy

Posted on January 4, 2018

Ugh. We get into the same bind every year. New Years is a time of resolutions and some of them inevitably deal with our hopes for a better society, cleaner environment, a functional equality between the genders, and our desire for meaningful work, to name just a few. And then we look back a few months later and realize we didn’t make it. Somehow the rigors of life got between us and our aspirations. If we’re not careful, 2018 could end up looking a lot like last year. For democracy to truly work, it will take more than just wishing it to be so – we must become essential parts to its overall performance. But that’s just the problem: society seems to go on…

The Ripping of Our Social Fabric

Posted on December 30, 2017

Another year is ending, and in some respects we are more divided as Londoners than ever – not a popular sentiment, I know, but one with which we must come to terms. Somewhere in the last few years, the possibilities we once envisioned for social media to help guide us into a more collaborative future have floundered. Friendships have been lost, enemies gained, and a brighter future dimmed. It has exacerbated an already difficult generational divide in London and threatens to derail our potential. We’re not alone in this challenge, as communities around the world wrestle with a remarkable resource that has somehow turned citizens against one another. News was made recently when former Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiya, spoke out concerning the harm the…

For 2018, Boring is Better

Posted on December 26, 2017

Journalists can be forgiven for growing jaded over time. Covering politics can prove to be a deep struggle of getting facts from those seeking to shelter them. More often than not journalists know they are being played. “The media are less a window on reality, than a stage on which officials perform self-scripted, self-serving functions,” wrote Thomas Sowell, and there’s a strong element of truth in it. Given what’s going on in places like America, Venezuela, Russia, Britain, Spain and China, Canadian news at times can seem outright boring. Yet it says something about this country – our politics, our citizenry, our economy, our institutions. Closing out 2017, we as Canadians understand that our pliability is a blessing. There are numerous challenges existing at…

%d bloggers like this: