The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts from the “The New Internationalism” Category

Wounded Warrior

Posted on June 24, 2018

I caught his stare as I was brought into the House of Commons for the first time and just couldn’t read it.  It was late-2006, shortly after I had won a by-election as a Liberal in London, Ontario.  Paul Dewar had entered the House as a newcomer for the NDP only a few months before.  I had known of him prior to my political tenure, but seeing his face that day left me with no doubt that he was a fighter of some kind. A couple of hours later we passed one another in the Opposition Lobby and he introduced himself.  Taller than me, he looked vigorous, contained, and somewhat intense.  We sat on the same side of the House and frequently voted the…

The Devastating Ironies of Our Global Food System

Posted on June 14, 2018

People have to eat, so it’s everywhere.  The massive global food industry, powered and frequently controlled by only five international conglomerates, touches virtually every nation and most markets.  It’s so big that even the late Anthony Bourdain noted that he couldn’t get his head around it.  And because food and water are the basic elements of all life, we are affected in ways we hardly understand. And there is a price to pay for that ignorance.  We want food everywhere and demand vast varieties and quantities at the same time.  It seems to just appear in supermarkets, restaurants, and now increasingly online.  It just is– immediate, relatively cheap, and in copious amounts.  That familiarity and ease of access comes at a cost – a…

The G7’s Troubles Started Long Before Trump

Posted on June 12, 2018

It was hardly much ado about nothing.  In fact, there’s been nothing like it in decades.  Donald Trump’s erratic utterances before, during and following the recent G7 meetings effectively kept the world attentive and coming unglued at the same time.  The irony of the American president wanting a chair at the table for the Soviet Union while one of his key advisors called for a special seat in hell for Justin Trudeau wasn’t missed by anyone. The attempt by the other G7 leaders to keep everything from unravelling was commendable, but there remained this abiding sense that the global order which has prevailed over much of the world since World War Two was in the process of unravelling. Something is wrong and, in many…

The Fight to Vote

Posted on June 9, 2018

It’s Election Day in Ontario and many remain as confused as ever as to the choice they must make.  Too many have said that they’re not heading to the ballot box this year because elections themselves no longer provide the outcomes people hope for.  There’s a lot of truth to this, and should be acknowledged. The problem is that, while elections increasingly frustrate us, there is as yet no clear alternative to someone heading into a private area, marking their choice, and then living with the result.  There are numerous ideas of how to rank ballots or prioritize them, but there is still no substitute for the act of a private citizen voting. Sometimes votes aren’t about choices at all, but a choice.  There…

Do Elections Work Anymore?

Posted on June 5, 2018

I admit to being purposely provocative here, but the question arises from a place of sincerity.  It’s simply this: in an age when democracies are struggling everywhere for legitimacy, do elections still make sense?  Writer David Van Raybrouck ruminated on this a number of years ago and wrestled with the answer. Doubts have been driven by radical democratic moments in Europe, Brexit, the great chaos that is the American political system today, and now the troubling turbulence of an Ontario campaign due to be settled(?) this week.  The campaigns of this modern era result in more confusion, not less, once concluded. Buyer’s remorse emerges the moment a campaign has concluded, the ballots have been counted, and organized chaos ensues. These days almost everyone talks about…

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