The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “poverty

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…

The Third Place (Chapter 10) – The Worst of Times

Posted on August 11, 2018

Aware that the rapid movement of wealth around the globe was slowly stripping the fibre of our community from our midst, along with so many other regions that had depended on basic manufacturing for economic survival, an inevitable sense of decline hovered over our city.  Gloom was everywhere.  It began when a couple of large auto parts suppliers shut down for good but inevitably picked up speed as other businesses first cut down on their services and then closed down altogether.  Social services reported record numbers of people seeking help and even our successful local sports teams succumbed to dispiriting losing streaks.  It was like some kind of emotional plague had infested the populace. In such situations,  communities can start coming apart or drawing…

Summer Reflections – It Was Always Thus

Posted on July 25, 2018

In a column I’m writing for this weekend’s London Free Press, I talk about how people in low-income situations can’t actually afford summer.  I stumbled across this article from the New York Times, written in 1860, just as the American Civil War was about to commence.  There are a lot of similarities here and I thought it worth sharing.  In some ways we’ve made progress, but not in others. ————————————————————————————-   Where the Rich and the Poor Pass the Summer May 19, 1860 The season is fast approaching when our wealthy and fashionable citizens will, according to their annual custom, leave the City, and seek a more comfortable and healthy retreat in the country. And what, then, of the poor, whom poverty and the…

Think You Know Your World? A Quiz.

Posted on April 12, 2018

Hans Rosling revolutionized my perspective of the world back in 2006, with his thoughts on world health and development.  Though he passed away last year of liver failure, his TED talks remain some of the most popular.  He remained a good friend and advisor to Bill and Melinda Gates prior to this death. His final book, Factfulness, reminds us how little we truly know of the world and humanity’s great potential and maintains that things are really better than we believe.  It’s a debatable point, but in his field of global health few could match his scope nor the innovative methods he utilized in promoting his ideas. Just how necessary minds like his are is apparent in the earliest portions of Factfulness, when he…

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