The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “public space

The Partisan Mind (2)

Posted on October 9, 2013

It seemed like a sincere enough request.  I was being asked by an MP from another party if I’d like to have a drink with other MPs just to be social.  “Sure,” I responded, and that evening, following a late vote in the House, we retired to a favourite watering hole in Ottawa.  Nine of us had gathered, from every party but one.  I listened in fascination as we all complained about how impossible it was to accomplish any cross-party cooperation because our party positions were so rigid.  Government and opposition MPs that evening bemoaned the decline of democracy but we were all stymied as to what to do about it.  When it was suggested that we take a public stand in the House…

Bar Code Generation

Posted on June 6, 2012

Face it.  All this talk about citizen engagement presumes there is one relationship that really matters – that between citizens and their political representatives. Great effort is put into cobbling enough citizens together to make the political process take note. It all becomes a convenient exercise because it rests on the premise that politicians aren’t listening when citizens are speaking – politicians “bad,” citizens “good.” But there’s more to it. At its essence, citizenship involves a sense of solidarity, a reciprocity between citizens meant to infuse the democratic exercise with a sense of urgency and purpose. They must view themselves as partners in an enterprise far greater than themselves, and which entails costs as well as benefits. While it’s common to bemoan the rotting…

We Want In

Posted on January 25, 2012

The Nation magazine recently asked 16 activists and economists the following relevant question: “If you had the ability to reinvent capitalism, where would you start?” The responses were wide-ranging but a synthesis of how they viewed modern capitalism fell into three main categories: 1) surplus is distributed by those who own, not those who work and make; 2) more consumption is always better; and 3) anything “outside” the economy, like the environment, may as well not exist.” Put in other terms, these three conclusions might say; 1) capital gleaned from production can be taken from the hands from those who make goods and placed in the sole possession of those who own; 2) in order to make more profit each year, as much has…

Citizenship – “Government’s Animating Body”

Posted on August 22, 2011

Citizens are undertaking so many remarkable ventures across the country, at all different levels and with some interesting results. I learned from a friend of a terrific resource just this weekend called the Citizen’s Handbook. In laying out so many different dimensions of how people can make a difference, it might very well live up to its name. With two weeks left to go in this series, now would be the time for those who follow these posts to send in some links to projects you believe might be helpful in moving citizens in the right direction. A list of such resources will be compiled at the end of the series. The purpose of these blog posts hasn’t been to outline such initiatives but…

Public Liberty Versus Private Control

Posted on September 30, 2010

You can see it creeping in everywhere around the edges of the public space. Just yesterday, the Senate of Canada presented its 300-page report on its plan for fighting the growing levels of poverty in Canada. In all, there were 74 recommendations on combating homelessness and poverty, but the Conservative government rejected the report. When the Senate produces something like this, it’s usually far more substantive than what most Common’s committees deliver, and the fact the Senate adopted the report unanimously gave it special weight. The report, titled, A Call to Action on Poverty, concludes that a troubling 3.4 million Canadians are trapped in poverty by government social programs that are no longer functionally connected, but actually “substantially broken.” Things have been this way…

%d bloggers like this: