The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “progress

When Cities Define Us

Posted on May 10, 2016

“EVERY PERSON IS DEFINED BY THE COMMUNITIES she belongs to,” says author Orson Card. Depending on where you live, that could be encouraging or disillusioning. In the realm of city building, many don’t wish to be defined by municipalities that seem to be falling behind, but would rather be seen as part and parcel of smart cities doing intelligent things as they move into the future. London, Ontario, is living through such a moment, and some see it as a crucible. The current subject under debate is Light Rail Transit (LRT) versus Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Some view LRT as a sign that we are committed to the future, whereas others prefer BRT as a more affordable decision to manage the present. In unexpected…

Stillborn Democracy

Posted on March 29, 2016

This post can also be viewed at National Newswatch here. HIS ELECTION CAMPAIGN SIGNED UP MILLIONS of new voters, partly by the ingenious use of modern communications technology. Being young and vibrant, it was only a natural development that younger generations flocked to his campaign. He had a telegenic wife and young kids. Rather than following the historic pattern of saying that he and his party were the right prescription to get the country moving again, he asked his nation to believe in itself once more, to build optimism into its future outlook, and to engage itself in a new kind of politics. And he won in a fashion that appeared to usher in a new age of collaboration and political accomplishment. No, this…

A Strange Case of Hope

Posted on December 29, 2015

IT SEEMS COUNTERINTUITIVE, BUT IT’S REAL.   Despite the overriding sense that violence and bloodshed have extended their grip of fear globally, statistics reveal we have never been closer to establishing international peace. Despite the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, the terror that is ISIS, and the bloodshed emanating from Syria, the reality is that they stagger us because in fact they are becoming more rare. Go deeper into the statistics and we discover that tragedies like murder, domestic violence, torture, and capital punishment have been steadily on the decline. Just ask Steven Pinker, a Harvard psychologist, and best-selling author. He wrote a book in 2011, titled The Better Angels of Our Nature, in which he made the following staggering statement: “The decline in violence…

It All Comes Down to Cities

Posted on December 15, 2015

FOLLOWING EXTENSIVE NEGOTIATIONS a deal emerged among 190 countries regarding climate change and the very future of the planet. Almost immediately opinions pro and con erupted in every venue imaginable. The average citizen can be forgiven for experiencing difficulty as to the truth of the summit’s success in Paris this past week. Nevertheless, there are some aspects of the climate change response that have been clearly successful, with progressive track records that still spell hope on the file. I speak especially of cities. While the accomplishments on carbon emissions of a number of nations have been mixed, cities around the world opted to act long before the Paris summit. Following the dismal failure of the 2009 Copenhagen summit, municipal leaders took the initiative when others…

Lead by Example or Force: Which is It?

Posted on November 26, 2015

IN 2003, THE U.S. ARMY SPONSORED a conference in Washington to consider the possibilities of soft power, among other things. When asked by the media what he thought of the insights into soft power that had just been presented, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld appeared a bit miffed and answered, “I don’t know what it means.” That lack of understanding and appreciation of power in its other low-key forms would ultimately contribute to the chaotic nature of the Iraq war. But, in truth, the lack of knowledge of soft power is part of our problem as well, especially as Canada continues to mull over its role as part of the 65-member coalition fighting ISIS. And when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he wanted to help…

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