The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “dysfunction

Padlocking the Revolving Door

Posted on August 30, 2018

A couple of days ago, in a National Newswatch piece, I broached a sincere question: Can we actually afford the kind of capitalism we have at present?  There were lots of interesting responses, usually focusing on America as the epi-centre of economic dysfunction. So, it was surprising to read Franklin Foer’s column in the Atlantic yesterday talking about Senator Elizabeth Warren’s take on modern capitalism.  We’ve covered the feisty American senator (Ted Kennedy’s replacement) in previous posts, but with her courageous willingness to talk about the global financial order and its devastating affects worldwide, Warren is merely voicing what millions are thinking. She begins by acknowledging that her Democratic party’s recent flirtation with socialism is infusing a new generation of voters into the process, and…

War Under the Peace Tower

Posted on June 24, 2018

In the parliamentary calendar, it is inevitable that the subject of Question Period’s dysfunction will emerge, often with a twinge of anger. It’s happening again in these last few days, led by the Toronto Star researching into the veracity and truthfulness of that one time in the House where the government must account for its actions, or lack of them. To that must be added the insights of Star reporter Tonda MacCharles, who notes that Question Period’s 45-minute duration is really just a regurgitation of talking points, ad nauseum. Bruce Campion-Smith and Sabrina Nanji of the same newspaper put a fitting point on it by asking just how is it that an important political event designed to hold the government accountable has become an…

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…

Truthiness and Consequences

Posted on May 1, 2018

It was back in 2005 when Stephen Colbert first used the word “truthiness” on the Jon Stewart show.  The audience bellowed their laughter and overnight the term took its place in our modern vocabulary.  Colbert said he used it to describe the kind of politics that rejects reason and research in favour of “gut feelings” that someone feels regardless of the lack of facts.  Now, some 13 years later, the term is etched in our thinking. One of the clearest examples of how “truthiness” played out in real life occurred in the Republican Party’s 2012 primary race – a contest eventually won by Mitt Romney.  In one debate, Romney’s key challenger, Rick Santorum, provided a strange example of what happens when governments get too…

Our Frail Craft

Posted on March 8, 2018

Former UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon once voiced a perceptive observation concerning humanity’s potential and its limitations:   “We are the first generation to be able to end poverty, and the last generation that can take steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.” He went on to talk of how future generations will judge us on the strength or weakness of our moral vigor to manage change. And that’s just how it’s playing itself out.  We’ve learned in a previous blog about how the world is making important strides in fighting destitute poverty in the developing world.  Much of this is due to governments rising to the challenge of the UN’s Millennial and Sustainable Development Goals and also for the abilities of…

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