The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “advocacy

The Radicalization of Education

Posted on July 9, 2015

IT WAS A WORD TOO FREQUENTLY co-opted for use in the War on Terror, yet for some reason it came to mind as I keenly watched the faces of over 300 students at Fanshawe College’s graduation. Jane and I were deeply appreciative to be given an honourary diploma that day (the first shared diploma in the college’s history), and we talked about the message we would give to the graduates. Jane, as always, was awesome, yet when my turn came that word “radicalization” popped into my head again. “This isn’t the end of your formal education,” I said, “but the start of the radicalization of it.” I used the word purposely because it means more than how some terrorist groups seek to recruit young…

Towards the Noise

Posted on June 2, 2015

ARE CANADIANS STILL A BIG PICTURE PEOPLE? To answer that properly we would have to drill down to where our greatest aspirations reside. And when we do that we discover some hope. At least generally, citizens across the country still affirm their beliefs that they desire their country to practice a peaceful influence in the world, to be more tolerant, to eliminate child poverty, to become a more environmentally sustainable place, to respect our veterans, and to always be ready to lead in innovation and change. And yet we’ve reached the stage in our national life where we no longer trust our leaders at all levels – political or corporate – to guarantee that we can, in fact, retain these values we believe in.…

Mayors: City of Hope

Posted on September 25, 2014

IT’S A PRETTY INCREDIBLE THING TO SPEND 23 DAYS in jail for civil disobedience and also win an award as “India’s best politician,” but that’s just what Sheila Dikshit of Delhi has achieved – just one of many remarkable exploits of an accomplished life. One of only a few women mayors in large cities around the globe, she remains a force to be reckoned with and a politician of decision. Quite simply, she’s had it with the way women and girls have traditionally been treated in India, but sees the issue as merely part of a larger lack of political will to combat poverty and class tensions. To raise the profile of such issues, she became a member of the Indian delegation to the…

Mayors: You Say You Want A Revolution?

Posted on September 24, 2014

DOES IT TAKE STRONG DOSES OF COURAGE TO OCCUPY the position of mayor? One wouldn’t think so at the civic level, and yet politics has changed significantly enough that mayors attempting to take their cities along a more successful path must oppose powerful influences that have stood as obstacles to any new direction. Last week I watched the entire Ken Burns’ seven-part series on the lives of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. It was remarkable in the telling. All three came from generational wealth and could have spent their lifetimes plying their investments and overseeing their small empires. Instead they believed that their financial security required that they expended their lifetimes cultivating the public good, and their chief vehicle for ensuring…

A New Kind of Loneliness

Posted on July 7, 2014

IT’S A NEW KIND OF LONELINESS, ONE I’VE ONLY BEEN picking up on lately. And the more I’ve talked to people about it, the more I realize that I’m suffering from it myself. It’s difficult to describe but emanates from two realities: the use of social media, and the loss of the public imagination. I’m afraid that both have affected me, and it’s a kind of personal isolation that I don’t think anyone sees. At the moment I feel more like Vincent Van Gogh than anything else: “A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke.” In recent weeks I’ve learned that others are feeling a similar sense of loss. Recently I…