The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “government

Behind Lincoln’s Back

Posted on September 8, 2017

It has become known as one of the greatest protest movements of the modern era, and one of its most poignant and powerful moments was the great March on Washington by those fighting for civil rights. Led by Martin Luther King Jr., some 250,000 people (70% of whom were black) gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to hear King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. It became an iconic moment for how to mobilize and empower a nonviolent rally. It could have turned out another way, however. John Lewis, now an American black congressman but on that day in 1963 was only 23 years old, tells of a key moment that ultimately turned the rally into a success. Lewis was an angry and young black activist…

What’s to Become of Labour Day?

Posted on September 5, 2017

Social agencies throughout the country are encountering people who are recently without work or holding down one or two minimum wage jobs as they seek to make ends meet for their families. It’s an endlessly disillusioning process – one showing no sign of abating. Yet, with yesterday being Labour Day, the subject received little mention. Governments can be forgiven for having grown distracted by terrorism, climate change, the struggles of modern democracy and, yes, Donald Trump. But this is the new world, the new economy, the new reality of employment. Millions are facing it and, despite training and education, they are witnessing that link between work and wealth disappear in real-time and with real fallout. We see what happens when democracy stumbles along through…

As Soft Power Ramps Up, Soft Power Comes Into Its Own

Posted on August 10, 2017

With “hard” power clearly in a resurgent mode, it’s time to focus more on “soft” power and the advantages it holds in balancing off some of the more frightening aspects of human nature. Fortunately, there are lots of resources to assist us, chief of which was the recently released The Soft Power 30 – an intriguing global ranking of Soft Power and those nations that attempt to use it.   The rankings aren’t as vital to the research that went into them but they nevertheless are important, even ironic. Here are the top 10: France (1), United Kingdom (2), United States (3), Germany (4), Canada (5), Japan (6), Switzerland (7), Australia (8), Sweden (9) and the Netherlands (10). Canada’s positioning in the top 5 shouldn’t…

Payette’s Appointment Breaks New Ground – Again

Posted on July 19, 2017

As appointments go, the choice of Julie Payette as Canada’s new Governor General was figuratively out of this world. The former astronaut had completed two missions to the space station and spent seven years as the Canadian Space Agency’s chief astronaut. But her qualifications were far more wide ranging: speaking six languages, commercial pilot, a computer engineer, and active participant in numerous social causes. Yet there was one key component to add to the appeal of the 53-year old from Montreal and it was pivotal: Payette perfectly fit Canada’s present view of itself. The almost universal testimonials to her appointment were proof enough of that reality and the celebrations prompted by the announcement spoke to our own collective view of present-day Canada in the…

Catch and Release

Posted on April 25, 2017

This post was originally published at National Newswatch here. Author Chris Gould, in his Aristotle: Politics, Ethics and Desirability, made the rather sage observation that, “the best promises forever seem to be made by amnesiacs.”  Politics has frequently been measured as the distance between what a politician promises and what is ultimately delivered. As voters themselves move all over the political map, those seeking their approval make ever more outlandish vows in order to secure their trust, and often fail to complete them. The more this goes on – the over promising and under delivering – the more that essential ingredient of trust slips away from our democracy. We have reached a stage in the modern era life where politics itself has escaped the…

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