Preston Manning: It's a mistake to assume populism is bad

Preston Manning: It's a mistake to assume populism is bad



I think we make a mistake though to just automatically assume that populism is a bad thing when they say well this is just a bunch of ignorant under uneducated people but the prejudice is they don't know what they're doing they don't know what they want that's precisely the wrong reaction to populism I think if those populist concerns are not expressed and dealt with and then people lose faith in the system they say this democratic system doesn't doesn't work it doesn't address my problems it doesn't address my concerns if they see the political class or the political elites discussing things that have nothing to do with what the grassroots concerns are they say look this democracy is supposed to be representative of us and supposed to be representative of the majority but doesn't represent me and so you get people they're not just disillusioned with a party or with a leader they they're disillusioned with the democratic system itself which i think is extremely dangerous Canadians should recognize that Canada particularly Western Canada and particularly the prairies has had more experience with populist movements and populist parties than virtually any area of North America in the 20s we had the Progressive Party and the farmers parties eventually they got women the vote we had the depression parties of the CCF which later became the NDP brought in Medicare you had the Social Credit administration's that offered honest government in Alberta and British Columbia and then you had the reform movement of the 1980s which I was involved in that there's lessons to be learned from those populist experiences and one of them is that you can take that bottom up energy and discontent and it can be wild and woolly but it can be directed into something positive and constructive and I think that's I think populism can be used to revitalize democracy but you have to go about it that way

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