Politics students attend Learning Connection presentation on populism

Preston Manning

My name is Keira Spurrell, a Grade 12 student in Rigby House and part of one section of the Grade 12 Canadian and World Politics Class at Trinity College School.

On Thursday, April 28th, 10 of the politics students, including myself, were lucky enough to be invited along with our teacher, Ms. Shannon Rauh-Wasmund, and other staff members to attend a political talk organized and hosted by the Northumberland Learning Connection at Victoria Hall in Cobourg, Ontario. The night’s main speaker was Preston Manning, the former Leader of the Opposition in Canada and a founding member of the Reform Party of Canada, a former right-wing political party in Canada. This Western Canadian protest-based political party evolved and combined with others to form Canada’s current Conservative Party of Canada.

Mr. Manning’s speech on Thursday focused on the political concept of populism. This political approach aims to appeal to ordinary citizens, who feel that their concerns are disregarded by the established elite groups in society, and create a platform for those concerns to finally be heard. He spoke on the former Reform Party of Canada and how crucial populism was to their messaging and platform as a political party in Alberta and how that affected his time as head of the Opposition in Parliament. After his speech, Manning sat down for an interview with former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) documentarian and author Karin Wells, a three-time recipient of the Canadian Association of Journalists documentary award, and then fielded questions from the audience, half of which were asked by students from Trinity College School.

While many of us students were not aligned with many of Mr. Manning’s political views, it is important to recognize the necessity of seeing other political perspectives to broaden one’s own perceptions and opinions. Overall, the night was certainly thought-provoking and educational, and I, along with our class, were very grateful for this opportunity to hear from a prominent politician in Canadian history.

A warm thank you to retired TCS teacher John Geale and Dorothy Geale, the latter who is a member of the Northumberland Learning Connection, for extending an invitation to our students and staff. We look forward to attending more exciting and thought-provoking events hosted by the Northumberland Learning Connection in the future.