The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “responsibility

Election 2015: Citizens and Power

Posted on October 14, 2015

IT’S BECOMING CLEAR THAT THINGS ARE MOVING dynamically in this final week in the run-up to the election. Interest is growing. Voters are changing their minds. The media are having a field day. But on October 20, with the election done, everything settles back into that one great goal: the possession of power. A feeling develops in Ottawa that the winners have been legitimized by a process of voting that now gives them sway to carry out their own designs. It’s as if democracy is all about the vote and never about the four years following. There’s been much hoopla about the increase in advance voting as compared to the last election, and it is encouraging. As citizens we are coddled, prompted to dream,…

An Empty Spot On the Bench

Posted on January 13, 2015

WHEN EFFECTIVE ADVOCATES FOR DEMOCRACY ultimately leave the stage through retirement or death, it’s not always true that their absence is noted. Lose a Mandela, Vaclav Havel, or a Maya Angelou and almost immediately the tributes and stories flood the airwaves. Yet every year we lose many of democracy’s greatest champions without even knowing it, often not even recognizing their names. A candle goes out and we merely transfer our interests to another. The voice of Bill Moyers finally went silent on PBS news stations a few weeks ago, leaving a significant vacancy in our overall struggle for a fairer and more equitable society. Moyers was sage, highly knowledgable, and intensely courageous for those things he devoutly espoused. Some regarded him as a throwback…

Value for Money

Posted on April 3, 2014

Business guru, Peter Drucker, continues to drive home the same message: “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”  But how can that happen when citizens themselves continue to downgrade their expectations when it comes to business performance almost across the board? How can larger corporations and businesses that have fallen so low in public estimation hope to regain citizen trust and community esteem again?  If they are truly serious about the matter, they merely have to look no farther than some of their peers across various industries. But first they’ll have to stretch out their financial projections and performances if their efforts are to have any success.  Communities live year to year and have growth cycles that sometimes involve decades…

“Idiots” – Community Engagement Podcast (25)

Posted on August 8, 2013

If citizens check out of the political process, then it becomes increasingly easy for governments to do as they wish.  We all know that.  And yet, with voter turnout declining in most democracies around the world, the democratic estate is becoming increasingly ineffective.  There’s an ancient name for people who don’t wish to take up their societal responsibilities and until they do, then our challenges will only get greater in equal measure to our disillusionment.  We can solve such difficulties, but it will require a new kind of citizenship. Click on the audio button below to listen to the six-minute podcast.

Conscience and Cowardice

Posted on August 1, 2013

“Conscience and Cowardice,” said Oscar Wilde, emending Shakespeare, “are really the same things. Conscience is the trade-name of the firm.”  H. L. Mencken partially agreed, noting that nowhere in the English language is a term so rich in ironic ambiguities than “conscience”.  It seems to me that modern citizens are caught in the ongoing tension between these two realities.  It has been a simple thing of late to pile on politicians for “not living up to their conscience” or “behaving as cowards by not standing up for the constituents.”  Who can argue?  The party system gave up attempting to inspire us a long time ago, opting instead to try to steal our vote by hammering the other parties. But for the citizen these two terms…

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