The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “homelessness

Cities: Democracy’s Shadow Side

Posted on September 17, 2014

ONLY THREE MONTHS AGO, MOST OF US WERE TAKEN UP with the plight of over 200 girls abducted by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria. The number of celebrities, politicians, and average citizens who used the hashtag #Bringbackourgirls numbered in the hundreds of thousands – the majority of whom lived in cities around the world. Today very few us know what happened to those abducted, in part because what had become something of a brief fad couldn’t really compete with some dedicated criminals and militants who simply outlasted the outcry. Just for clarity, here’s what we know now. The girls haven’t been returned, despite much talk and some action about securing them. Some sources now say their whereabouts is now totally unknown. And Boko Haram…

Enough Already

Posted on February 12, 2014

‘GREAT THINGS ARE NOT ACCOMPLISHED BY THOSE who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”  So said American poet Jack Kerouac.  I wonder what he’d think of the latest trend of taking selfies in front of homeless people.  Never mind; we already know.  He’d be disgusted.  Fortunately, he would also be angered, and in such a state would want to do something about it.  In Europe, America and now Canada, it’s become the big thing – find someone down and out, living on the streets, take a selfie of yourself in front of the person on your cellphone, and then broadcast it out to all your friends.  I know, it’s stupid and insensitive.  But more than that, it speaks to just what we…

Counting On Nothing

Posted on June 24, 2013

I am one of 9,564,210 Baby Boomers in the country – a group that makes up almost 30% of the population.  For almost 30 years I was one of some 22,000 Canadian professional firefighters.  I am one of the less than 1% of internationals who undertake development programs in south Sudan.  I am part of the 912,600 families in Canada that have three or more children (I have 7).  My blood type is O-negative.  I was a member of the 39th and 40th Canadian Parliaments, and, oh yeah, I was one of the 2,100,000 people who watched Britain’s newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II emerge from her balcony at Buckingham Palace on June 2, 1953 (I was 3 years old). So, do you think you…

Homelessness Without a Home

Posted on June 24, 2013

New data on homelessness emerged last week and immediately competed for front page attention – some 200,000 Canadians every year are affected by homelessness, with a hefty price tag of 7 billion dollars.  This was the first ever national report on homelessness and the findings spell deep trouble for our communities, especially our cities. Perhaps it’s time that we just admit that citizens are expecting this to be an ongoing reality – a troubling shift.  Worse still is the fact that our leaders – political, economic, social – are now planning for poverty – it’s enmeshed in our economic system and there are no plans for alleviation. A proper remedial place for tackling this troubling issue within the realm of public policy goes wanting…

Why I Chose the Stable

Posted on October 25, 2012

When politics was done for me, I had some decisions to make. As job offers started to come in, Jane and I sat down and determined that another approach would be best for me – community activism. It took a few weeks but I eventually opted to begin by helping two London organizations that mattered to me – the London Community Foundation and a remarkable group of women endeavouring to make their mark at My Sisters’ Place. It didn’t take long before I realized I was in a world of hurt and possibility at the same time. My Sisters’ Place is located in a large old house across the street from the police station. On any given evening you’ll find about 40-50 women coming…

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