The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “elections

Democracy Reset

Posted on November 15, 2016

In his book At Home, bestselling author Bill Bryson tells of walking through Norfolk, England, with an archeologist friend. Every church they looked at was depressed three feet into the ground – like “a weight sitting on a cushion,” he writes. Bryson assumed it was because of the weight of the structures over the centuries. His friend answered instead that it was because the graveyards around the churches had built up the earth around the structures over many years. I thought of that observation in considering the fate of democracy in recent years. It was once a vaunted and vaulted political institution that for 400 years had enlightened and empowered the world in most places where it was practiced. Two world wars had convinced…

Transcending Cynicism

Posted on March 1, 2016

This blog post is also available at National Newswatch here. “SCRATCH ANY CYNIC AND YOU WILL FIND a disappointed idealist,” comedian George Carlin said during an interview. We are watching this play out in the American election season, as both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have plumbed a motherlode of disenchantment on both sides of the political spectrum. Supporters of both candidates continue to cry out that they want their country back and their leader is just the person to do it. In the modern era, those seeking election have learned that it’s possible to create something of a political movement by speaking to the despair of citizens, and there’s a point to it. Globally, politics has increasingly become a mug’s game – a…

Seeing and Changing: Canada’s Next Step

Posted on November 10, 2015

WE MIGHT BE WITNESSING A DIFFERENT COUNTRY in the making, though we can’t be sure for some time yet. Nevertheless, something seems to have altered. It’s true that Justin Trudeau won a convincing election victory and enjoyed a terrific day for being sworn into office. But the yearning for change might be forming beneath these more public events. For the first time in a decade the country’s premiers have been included en mass in some of our most serious challenges. Our new Prime Minister sent out that signal immediately by inviting the premiers and territorial leaders to accompany him to the global climate change conference in Paris. Provinces are being consulted again on everything from refugee settlement to the prioritization of indigenous affairs. Dig…

Election 2015: Citizens and Power

Posted on October 14, 2015

IT’S BECOMING CLEAR THAT THINGS ARE MOVING dynamically in this final week in the run-up to the election. Interest is growing. Voters are changing their minds. The media are having a field day. But on October 20, with the election done, everything settles back into that one great goal: the possession of power. A feeling develops in Ottawa that the winners have been legitimized by a process of voting that now gives them sway to carry out their own designs. It’s as if democracy is all about the vote and never about the four years following. There’s been much hoopla about the increase in advance voting as compared to the last election, and it is encouraging. As citizens we are coddled, prompted to dream,…

Election 2015: Going To The Place You Miss

Posted on September 22, 2015

I HAD COFFEE WITH A GROUP OF FRIENDS I meet with occasionally at a local coffee shop. Some were retired, but easily half of them were still in their careers. The topics of conversation often vary widely, but on this occasion they were focused on the recent federal political debate from Calgary. And they were troubled. It would be fair to say that the majority of the group came from the progressive conservative persuasion. Their parents had voted that way and they just kind of stayed on with it. Most had voted for Brian Mulroney in the 1980s. But the recent version of conservatism expressed by the present federal government was driving them to distraction. They viewed it as austere, too politically partisan, and…

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