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Shutting people up is not the way to deal with populism: Preston Manning

Shutting people up is not the way to deal with populism: Preston Manning
WATCH: Former Reform Party leader and conservative stalwart Preston Manning tells Vassy Kapelos we need to learn from past examples of where populism has been a positive force in society and use that to engage and reinvigorate the conservative party.

OTTAWA – The man who once successfully harnessed populist sentiment in Canada into political success is warning that much is at stake if today’s political leadership fails to do that.

Preston Manning, founder of the Reform party, says the greatest challenge facing political leaders is that people are becoming increasingly disenchanted with government, mainstream media and politics.

READ MORE: Rebuilding the right will take work, says Preston Manning

“The answer is to manifestations of Trumpomania is not Trumpophobia, but political leadership that addresses the root causes of voter alienation and redirects negative political energy into positive ends,” Manning said Friday at the annual conservative conference that bears his name.

At $500 for the conference fee, less for students, the gathering was less rank-and-file grassroots of the conservative movement in Canada and more the party’s intelligentsia and operators gathered to debate the way forward.

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But Manning said the point is to give the disparate elements of the movement the opportunity to meet, network and develop tools and strategies necessary to take the lead in federal and provincial politics in the future years.