What’s wrong with populism?

Political parties are supposed to listen to us, not vice versa

Major media sometimes make me laugh. One of the terms, specifically, big-time media use that amuses me no end is the term “populist.” It’s usually used in a derogatory manner.

For example, the late Alberta Premier Ralph Klein was a populist leader. The term populist means, essentially, offering polices or options that appeal to a majority of regular, everyday people. I have always liked the term “populist” because I feel that’s what our political system is supposed to revolve around.

The past federal campaign (which in my opinion was too long, we don’t need an election campaign of any kind longer than four weeks) disturbed me greatly because I didn’t hear too much about what normal Albertans want. Conversely, I heard a lot about what political parties want to do to Alberta and what policies political leaders want to introduce in Alberta.

It seemed most of the federal election campaign was spent by parties insulting each other, digging up dirt and mudslinging each other and telling voters what each party was willing to grant us. Rather than parties listening to Albertans and finding ways to help us.

It’s been years that the Alberta economy has been languishing. Economists (those who are objective and don’t bow down to lobbyists) know that Canada is a resource-based economy. Canada’s economy prospers when it can exploit its resources, like oil, gas, coal and timber, to name a few.

For years the federal government and our past provincial government, based on ideological grounds, threw up roadblock after roadblock to damage or destroy Alberta’s resource industries; the placing of a militant activist like Tzeporah Berman, one of whose greatest claims to fame is “organizing the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history,” on the Oil Sands Advisory Group by the former NDP Alberta Government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s bungling of the Transmountain project resulting in Canadian taxpayers buying it out are only two of many example of special interests doing their best to destroy Alberta’s future, and some elected officials being only too happy to help.

But instead of discussing issues like Alberta’s economy and the increasing global demand for oil and gas, major media is stating that carbon pricing is one of the top election issues. I can’t speak for everyone, but I get out and about quite a bit, and I’ve spoken to plenty of people since the writ was dropped and not a single one has mentioned carbon pricing as the top issue in the election.

We are Canadians and we deserve the best government in the world.

It behooves all Canadian politicians to be populist and to be proud of it.

Stu Salkeld is editor of The Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the newspaper.

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