The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “economics

A Decade of Doubt

Posted on September 21, 2018

Confusion.  Confusion everywhere.  Confusion in the House itself and in Question Period.  Confusion in caucus meetings.  Confusion in the various committees.  Confusion at events.  Confusion when socializing with other MPs.  Confusion in calls home to spouses and children.  Confusion from the top leadership levels to the lowliest backbencher. Confusion among economists. Confusion among bureaucrats. Confusion in the media and among citizens.  Again, confusion everywhere. A decade ago I was sitting in Parliament – one of slightly over 300 MPs trying to figure out what just hit us.  Had the American stock market crashed?  Was Wall Street doing anything?  What about Canadian securities?  Is this going global or confined to America? It didn’t take long to understand that the Great Recession of 2008 was upon us and, like…

Homes Without People

Posted on February 16, 2018

It’s a phenomenon few saw coming, but it’s beginning to turn our perspectives on modern cities on its head.  The point of the spear seems to have begun in New York City – Manhattan specifically.  The number of apartments in that region occupied by absentee owners and renters grew from 19,000 in 2000 to 34,000 by 2011 and has likely mushroomed since.  That’s a jump of 70% in just a decade.  One three-block stretch of the Upper East Side has a 57% vacancy rate for 10 months each year. It’s not just developers and owners excessively purchasing properties and holding on to them as they hold out for higher sales (we have lots of them in Canadian cities).  According to Richard Florida in his…

Budget 2016: A First Step

Posted on March 24, 2016

IN ONE OF THE FUNNIER EPISODES OF THIS MANIC BUDGET WEEK, host Ellen DeGeneres aired a segment showing Canada’s response to the threat of Americans moving up here to escape Donald Trump, titled, “We’re nice, but we’re not that nice.” You can view it here. The reality is that we might be even nicer at the moment. During an American election season revealing far deeper divisions in the electorate than many realized, this week’s federal budget couldn’t set a more different tone. It was breathtaking in its own way, covering everything from deep investment in Indigenous Peoples to seasonal Employment Insurance programs, from tackling nagging infrastructure shortfalls to invigorating benefits for children and seniors, from beginning to make right the abiding gaps in veteran’s care…

Living Research

Posted on April 9, 2014

  OCCASIONALLY COMMUNITIES HAVE TROUBLE telling their own stories.  It often happens during times of transition, when change moves faster than a city’s ability to understand it. This is what happened in London when it came to a growing poverty problem.  While places like the London Food Bank were reporting that their clientele had climbed 40% in the last five years, London struggled to determine what was happening and what were the causes. The answers were never fully clear because the data required to get a good grasp on the problem was just not available.  Much of the data presently in use has come from Statistics Canada but was regionally based and couldn’t drill down to isolate what was really happening in our city.…

The Left. The Right. The Insanity.

Posted on September 4, 2013

Sometime around three decades ago, the modernized and industrialized Western nations permitted a new political construct to leak into their language – the “Left” versus the “Right”.  Nothing has been the same since.  With two sides now clearly defined, people moved fairly quickly to one or the other.  There were two real problems with this. The first is that it never effectively reflected the complexity of Canada itself.  We were a pragmatic people whose official political landscape wasn’t about one side or the other but how to coalesce around the middle as a means of benefitting the majority of the population. The second problem with Left versus Right is that there was no real sustainability built into the terms.  By their very nature they…

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