The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “unemployment

Valueless Work

Posted on September 18, 2013

WE THOUGHT IT INVIOLATE, the link between work and production.  But like the relationship between democracy and voting, or citizenship and responsibility, historic alliances appear in decline.  We just so happen to live in a generation in which change has been so profound that the foundations of stability that we have counted on for centuries seem no longer dependable.  History appeared to concur with Aristotle: “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”  Yet history now seems to be at a pivot point.  Once a sense of fulfillment is hollowed out of human toil all that is left is drudgery.  But for those on the top of the economic pile work has become commodified – a means to an end that thinks little…

The Left. The Right. The Insanity.

Posted on September 4, 2013

Sometime around three decades ago, the modernized and industrialized Western nations permitted a new political construct to leak into their language – the “Left” versus the “Right”.  Nothing has been the same since.  With two sides now clearly defined, people moved fairly quickly to one or the other.  There were two real problems with this. The first is that it never effectively reflected the complexity of Canada itself.  We were a pragmatic people whose official political landscape wasn’t about one side or the other but how to coalesce around the middle as a means of benefitting the majority of the population. The second problem with Left versus Right is that there was no real sustainability built into the terms.  By their very nature they…

Grief, Generosity, and a Galvanizing of Community Spirit

Posted on February 7, 2012

What began as a brief comment ended up as a unique citizen exercise. Ed Jackman (look for him in the video below) was in the car with us on the day Caterpillar announced it was shutting down the ElectroMotive plant in London. His concern for our community was obvious, and with a tone of anger and empathy he said quietly, “People need to talk. We should have some kind of meeting or something.” In my community, that’s sometimes all it takes. Within an hour, some of us on the Citizen’s Panel had selected a time and an agenda for the kind of gathering Ed was talking about and last night it all came together. When you see Ed in the video, you’ll experience a…

An End and the Beginning

Posted on February 3, 2012

Well, it’s over. Tears filled our eyes this morning as my wife and I heard that Caterpillar had finally made the decision to cut its workers loose and shut down the plant for good. Jane wondered if I had perhaps invested so much in the lockout over the last few weeks that I hadn’t prepared myself for the news. Perhaps she was right. What to say? Emotionally I can’t stop thinking of where these men, women and children go now. They were locked out, denied Employment Insurance, and now have to negotiate with the very company that walked away from them to get some kind of severance. As we approached the line upon hearing the news there was many hugs and even more tears.…

Both Ends

Posted on January 19, 2012

In 1800, about 90% of Americans worked on farms; by 1900 it was 41%; today it is slightly under 2%. How times have changed. One would have thought such a dislocation of the workforce would have led to some severe economic trauma. But the opposite was true, as opportunities sprang up in numerous sectors and the country’s manufacturing capacity skyrocketed. In other words, society was capable of adjustment at a remarkable rate. Today we are experiencing the opposite. Those losing jobs in places like Electro Motive in London, Ontario aren’t in the process of transitioning to other employment opportunities that are leading to higher standards of living. Their most likely option, should they have to find other work, will be in a labour environment…

%d bloggers like this: