The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “communities

Turning Left on Main Street

Posted on June 30, 2015

THIS TITLE ISN’T ORIGINAL TO ME, BUT IT’S COMPELLING.  Things are shifting.  The media senses it. Political parties recognize it. But above all, we feel it. In the parlance of the old rag-tag political world, the last two decades of a detached corporatism, the strangling effects of the ongoing austerity agenda, and the ineffectiveness of the present political order, means the right-wing agenda is running out of gas, or more likely ethical legitimacy. Our collective problems aren’t going away. Take your pick – a deteriorating climate, escalating poverty, high unemployment, a diminished public space, mushrooming healthcare difficulties, especially in the mental health field – and it’s clear that for all the wealth, the access, the trade, the flooding of the world with cheap goods, we…

“Making Food Waste Illegal?”

Posted on June 4, 2015

AT YESTERDAY’S PRESS CONFERENCE FOR THE Curb Hunger Food Drive for the London Food Bank a fellow named Steven approached me and asked if I had heard of all the things Europe is doing to divert food from the trash. We talked about the situation for a few minutes and he closed by saying, “Why can’t we do something about it in Canada. I mean, we have all this food, and with hunger growing it seems a crime to just let stores and restaurants throw good food away.” It appears that a town councillor in France felt it was criminal too, and he recently succeeded in getting a national law passed that would ban supermarkets in France from tossing out or destroying unsold food. And…

The Seven Billion Kilogram Dilemma

Posted on November 27, 2014

WHEN THE LONDON FOOD BANK HAD ITS FIRST city-wide food drive back in 1986, we were told to expect between 40-50,000 pounds. We weren’t fully prepared for the over 200,000 pounds that came in. Those fire stations charged with receiving the donations were swamped and an extra warehouse had to be located to store all those supplies collected over 10 days. As a city, we were new to this kind of initiative and much of the food was past its due date. We heard from many folks that they just wanted to help and that they just cleaned out their cupboards and refrigerators of items that had been in their stocks for months. It was a lesson for all of us. For those of us…

Our City

Posted on October 27, 2014

TODAY WE HEAD TO THE POLLS IN OUR CITY to select a new mayor, councillors, and school board trustees. Some will have no idea who to vote for until the last minute; others have been ready for months. Politics can bring out the best and worst, sometimes both, in our city, and elections can draw a community together for another four years or rip it apart for a painful period of time. But in the end, regardless of the quality of the candidates or the strengths and weaknesses of their platforms, the person who holds the ultimate power today is the voter – all of us. For the briefest moment in time we will be secluded, pencil in hand, and in that isolation will lie…

Mayors: From Ceremony to Change

Posted on October 14, 2014

IF THIS WERE 1918, 1935, OR EVEN 1960, the fact that we would be having a discussion about the importance of mayors would seem somewhat irrelevant. Even big city mayors in places like New York, Chicago, Toronto, or Montreal, though they acted tough, were easily overpowered by higher levels of government. Those were the days when societal problems were huge – massive immigration, poverty, corruption, gangs, over crowding – and it was perceived that the big challenges required big governments. That wasn’t an incorrect assessment, as sweeping changes and resources were introduced from senior levels of government that gave the sense that society could overcome anything. There were railroads, an expanding network of airports, revamped harbours, social programs, corporate legislation, and even putting people…

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