The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “economics

That’s Two Red Planets, Not One

Posted on November 27, 2018

We watched in fascination yesterday as NASA’s inSight Lander successfully touched down on the surface of Mars – the Red Planet.  Following years of research and efforts, six months of space travel, and one billion dollars of funding.  It was an accomplishment of seismic proportions. In a few days, the Lander will begin digging 16 feet below the surface to test the temperature of the soil.  Some believe it’s hotter than many think. It now appears that millions are beginning to wonder the same thing about earth. It’s taken time to approach it seriously – likely too long – but the arrival of the Trump administration’s climate change report is just the latest in a series of urgent warnings that our environment is about to…

Middle Class vs. Middle Class

Posted on October 4, 2018

It was a report that didn’t get enough coverage yet was fantastic in scope. For the first time in human history, slightly over half of the world’s population is identified as either middle class or richer – over 3.5 billion people.  That leaves a slightly smaller number as vulnerable or poor, but, still, the rapid advancement of the financial status of half the globe serves as a remarkable moment in time. Released last month (September 2018) by the Brookings Institute, it serves as a reminder that much is happening in our world that is good and angles towards hope.  Perhaps more interesting is the speed by which it is all transpiring.  One billion people are being added to the middle class every seven years.…

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…

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