The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “social justice

Homes Without People

Posted on February 16, 2018

It’s a phenomenon few saw coming, but it’s beginning to turn our perspectives on modern cities on its head.  The point of the spear seems to have begun in New York City – Manhattan specifically.  The number of apartments in that region occupied by absentee owners and renters grew from 19,000 in 2000 to 34,000 by 2011 and has likely mushroomed since.  That’s a jump of 70% in just a decade.  One three-block stretch of the Upper East Side has a 57% vacancy rate for 10 months each year. It’s not just developers and owners excessively purchasing properties and holding on to them as they hold out for higher sales (we have lots of them in Canadian cities).  According to Richard Florida in his…

Fire in the Eyes

Posted on December 19, 2017

The old scriptures tell of how Moses, over 100 years of age at the time of his death, stood on a mountain overlooking the Promised Land and “his eyes were not weak.” Yet, despite that great advantage, the legendary Jewish leader passed on, never able to enjoy what he had seen and dreamed of for most of his life. I thought of that story again a couple of days ago when I learned that Gina Barber, politician, activist and author, passed away of cancer. The outpouring of collective grief and thankfulness for her influence was remarkable in its own way, with many chronicling personal stories of her effect on their lives. I have one of my own, and it’s as recent as two weeks…

Anatomy of Hatred

Posted on September 1, 2017

Hatred. Neo-Nazis. White Supremacists. Racism. KKK. These terms, and many like them, we had hoped were slowly disappearing from our public life and lexicon, yet they are everywhere in these troubled days. For those individuals and groups who have felt the sheer injustice of such things, however, they have been an ever-present reality. With the events of Charlottesville, we are struggling to grasp the implications of what happens when those most troubling facets of hatred emerge again to prove we never did deal with them effectively. Rallies are being held across the United States and Canada, including London, this weekend that pit the best and worst of human nature against one another. The troubles of recent days have caused me to reflect on the…

Want to Defeat Poverty? Take Time.

Posted on October 19, 2016

ASKED BACK IN 2012 WHY POVERTY WAS SO ENTRENCHED in affluent societies around the world, President Barack Obama provided an answer that, while infuriating some social activists, actually gave hope to others. He simply said that it was time to apply “two-generation solutions.” He meant developing initiatives that affected both parents and their children as opposed to isolated programs that helped one but not the other. And such policies would take time to develop to be effective, he believed. We don’t really want to hear this because those enduring grinding poverty require quick alleviation of their distressing circumstances. We want to believe that through good-hearted actions that we create paths to escape from poverty’s hold. I wrote a blog post last week concerning how…

Canada’s Kind of World

Posted on August 17, 2016

PERHAPS THE GREATEST TEMPTATION IN THE WORLD of government is the politics of the urgent, and in a world of bad news the pressure to “do something” becomes endless. The recent incident in Strathroy, Ontario, of a man suspected of plotting a terrorist attack only provides further fodder for those concerned over the presently precarious state of the world. Turkey, Syria, France, mass shootings, individual acts of madness – all of these occurrences are pressing on the Canadian government at once, with pundits endlessly reminding us that something has to be done before our planet blows up. But there is another world out there – a global place of collaboration and effectiveness that continues to get glossed over in favour of front page headlines.…

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