Posts Tagged ‘Populism’

In the emerging c-tine I am beginning to gather material for a new book, that I hope to be able to put together in the Spring of 2021. The topic is one that reflects my spiritual life, community-belonging-connection. Now one may ask in a work reflecting on Preston Manning’s new book, Do Something, I would share this. I to ponder, but because there are some points that he writes that speak to health community. Much like I suggested Christians read Irshad Manji’s The Trouble with Islam so I suggest Manning’s new work to those of any political stripe to begin to ponder some key points.

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Once I as a reader navigated through the conservative partisan bias (which is to be expected for one from a conservative political thought writer), there was some kernels to share. Yes, I had to set aside some of the partisan broadsides, accept there was some kernels of truth in some, some continued bias ideological statements overshadowing seeing the good in other. What was refreshing in Manning’s writings, was his open sharing about third parties moving Canada forward in a healthy way, including his positive reflecting and sharing around other political heroes of mine, Rev. J.S. Woodsworth & Pastor Tommy Douglas, as well as the usefulness of populism section touching on the Famous Five, and other human rights matters but also touching on the chaos it can wreck with separatist movements and “western alienation” to the information of a data and science informed conservatism, that illustrates, how off track the current Alberta government is, the Federal party. As long time readers will also know, I do not give much time to the concept of private encroachment into our just society safety net (whether health care or education). It was beneficial to have an “elder” of current social conservatism, even while arguing against identity politics, point out the need for truth and reconciliation with our history of racism and oppression.

Now into some of the meat if you will, that I found useful in Mr. Manning’s discourses. These would touch on topics of science, political spectrum, religion, preparation, and community involvement. In reading Manning’s words, I was reminded of reading some of the writings of Stanfield and his team in the Trudeaumania era of Progressive Conservatives. Shifting from populist drive of Diefenbaker, to a data and science driven policy approach.

This is a key understanding I think any political group needs to get to, for us to return to healthy discourse in our country (and religious groups, as it is the science that explains the how of creation). For it then shifts from yelling matches, gotcha politics and social media sound bytes to raising the bar back up to policy discussions. Manning’s example was pollution pricing (carbon taxes) and not arguing against the practice, but rather the implementation. His challenge that if one cannot believe in climate science, rather look at environmental impacts and work to solve that which they could understand. For those who may be too young to remember, I believe it was when Jim Harris stepped down as leader of the Green Party of Canada, Manning aided in raising them to prominence. The intertwining of his faith and love of science has led him in my understanding to find ways to be a caretaker of the environment (if only more in his ideological realm would hear the call).

The concept that is also helpful, is the false dichotomies we want to exist within politics (liberal or conservative, left-centre-right), where he would share a 12 axis assessment on issues for aiding in defining what one held to be true. As most Canadians, exist somewhere in the centre, not wanting to make a decision, but wanting to ensure the most possible are included in the decision (a consensus as much as possible) this does raise some ideas. Within the 12 axis were topics such as environment, trust, jurisdiction, values, health act, education, etc.

It does also aid I believe as it moves one from blind ideology to one party, making each candidate needing to work beyond their party affiliation and leader to win the trust of the voter. This speaks to the need for character, and connection within the community. Does the candidate belong? Are they known for being a positive community member and builder? Stepping back into the concept of what public service is to be about– that is service for all citizens for peace, order and good governance. The role of government being to create the best possible life for citizens, and through that, the healthy environment for creativity, and business will happen (in my opinion and experience).

It also speaks to preparation for community leadership. Do we expect people to prepare for a vocation? Manning admirably used the example of Brother Jesus, and for each year of his public ministry, he had 6 years of life (and for some preparation). What would shift and change within our municipalities, counties, provinces and country if for each year of elected office we expected a certain number of years of preparation? Work/service in their local community? Connection. Belonging. The bottom line of the thesis do something is the suggestions of how to become active in community leagues, groups, political parties, research whether as a participant, donor or volunteer…the old adage of giving of time, talent and treasure (from small steps to large leaps depending on personal capacity).

With a final nod to the religious aspect of community life. This section was handled well, had a conservative bent, but could easily be expanded to all parties. Manning shared of those who served of all political stripes and faith. The idea being simple and familiar, we need to acknowledge the harm that has been done in the name of religion. But for those with authentic faith, you cannot separate the value system from who you are (goes back to core character and integrity), but it is not about imposing that on the populace. The other piece, is creating space for discussion, debate and acceptance within political movements.

So yes, is it everyone’s cup of tea this book? Probably not. For the entrenched partisan depending on which primary colour they are in it can be vilified or beatified. Both responses would miss the point of a call to action work. This was a call to action that can be read at the surface level for Canadian conservatism and democracy to what it means to moderate. For any other politico or religious politico, it can be read for ideas and concepts on how others think, how to do a mirror reflection into your own movements, and how to engage at the local community level to grow engagement, connection and belonging.

To extend a metaphor from the c-tine. Where we live is our household, each of those households creates a community, each community a village/town/city, and those a province and then a country. How are we creating health households, then communities? How are you choosing to do something to create a healthy ripple in your pond? What simple action- step are you going to choose to do?

To do something to effect positive change in your world.


I was attempting to not have to do the whole re-education cycle of why plastic straws matter. Historically they were created for safe use in medical settings for patients, and for many with disabilities it is why they do not require feeding tubes. During the pandemic, single use plastics have been a literal life saver (hence why the Canadian Government is holding off until the end of 2021 to institute the ban).

With the announcement has brought forth the same ableism I addressed many times on this page (and my own social media), when the City of Calgary was exploring such a ban. There are a few key points to consider on the single use plastic ban, that I want to ruminate on before actually tackling the straw.

First up, is the plastic bag. Yes, they seem easy and that not much impact will be had. In Calgary, Calgary Co-op has switched to a compostable bag, Sobey’s-Safeway has paper bags, and every other store as an alternative has re-usable bag (starting at $1-$20 at more bougie locales).

Here are some things not considered. The increased use of paper- have you ever seen what paper plants are like? What about recycling it? Now many will scream – Hemp- and I am with you on that one. BUT, and this is a big “b”, where in Canada are stores using hemp paper products? How wide spread is it? Will we see that shift or are we just trading one impracticality on the environment for another (and yes paper straw (the most useless device ever) advocates I am looking at you as well)- much like in the 1980’s when environmental populists caused fast food restaurants to shift from containers that could be used in fertilizer to an unrecyclable paper product (know and learn from history).

Also the cost of reusable bags create an undue hardship upon many Canadians and households (it is a certain socio-economic bracket solution). I have also reached out to many jurisdictions that have banned about the impact on food banks without these bags to use, and no one has ever looked it (or would not answer) the impact on those in need. Plus, many will have the bag do double duty for garbage or their baby’s diapers (which yes the compostable option or a hemp paper still allows for, same with the food banks). We as a society just cannot trust that corporate Canada will do what is best for the consumer, and not the profit line.

Now onto the straws. I like in a province where UCP populism has been tapped, where former Reform Party leader, and son of a former premier, Preston Manning has warned against tapping this vein for the path it can take you down and all you are left with is anger and hate. What is also does, like environmental populism is create an echo chamber of re-enforcement, and seeing it as okay to attack programs to support those with disabilities as they have little human capital. I see a connection with environmental populism here, and their ableism in ignoring the need for the plastic straw, and unwillingness to explore creation of a product that meets both needs. Or to be more blunt– just listen to those it impacts, and create dialogue, held space, and let them lead the solution finding phase.

See for many in the disabilities community as I opened up with it ticks all the boxes for physical safety they need and independence. Also it is socio-economically viable, compared to the cost of the many re-usable options they are pelted with. They do not have to worry about the straw being sanitary, as lack of support staff (or funding for such), dexterity, or dropped cleaning implement (or sadly, socio-economics) can all create barriers for usage even with not touching on things such as teeth breaking, harm to mouth, jaw, choking, etc from other variants.

Yet, we are to hold that it is up to the one in need to find the solution, and to accept the solutions being pelted. If not, then it is simply being seen as obstinate or not wanting to work for a solution.


It is simpler than that.

See the full humanity of the other person. What that person needs to thrive and enjoy life.

Then enter into conversation as equals about any changes that are plausible and possible.

Without that,

it is just another form of oppression being driven by populism- regardless if it is political or social justice, an empty, inhumane echo-chamber.

Let’s move forward together, as one community, seeing neighbour as full people instead, eh?

Other articles on/around this topic from me:

Yes, you read that title right.. 2016 shifted populism in North America, but in our neighbours to the south with President Trump, and the opening of fresh (old not fully healed) wounds of prejudices, racism and anger. Populism at its base will funnel anger for support whether it falls on the left or right of the political spectrum (in the US 2016 primaries on the left populist vote was Bernie Sanders). It may create an atmosphere of voting out of fear to stop something or someone. Fear easily becomes anger, and the slope to hate for the opponents or groups for the rising populist sentiment that has filled the gap in the individual or community. This is not a conducive slope or ride for nations, or citizens to take anymore within our globalized world. It is also not healthy nor beneficial, in fact it increases anxieties and depressions across the board as it raises a body’s sympathetic system responses to constantly be on edge.

Enter the primaries in the USA for the Democrats in 2020 and candidate Marianne Williamson. For the past 30 years this spiritual guru has taught from The Course in Miracles in her talks and writings.

Williamson moves to tackle the renewed Shadow being, or nationalized saboteur/gremlin if you will, brought out of a teaching close to her heart. That is to do spirituality/religion well you must do politics. They are not exclusive silos, or topics to be avoided in polite company as conversational topics.

Image result for marianne williamson politics of loveHence her new book, Politics of Love (HarperOne, 2019), to shine a light in the dark. Why should one care and connect these two realms? It is not from fear, but but the most radical teaching- LOVE.   When you enter into living radical love, social justice, peace and politics become the norm of life. Even beyond that radical love will not let you remained sidelined or non-political or non-spiritual. In Corporate America, radical love turns back to the clock to a time when the shareholder and their profit was not the highest good for a corporation profit margins. But equitable pay and care for employees to flourish, and having buying power to grow the economy. The shift to the highest profit for the shareholder, is but one reason for the rise of the current populism from the working class, the vein of anger the faux outsider and current President, Donald Trump, was able to tap into (and there is examples in Canada, but I am keeping this reflection to the source material of Williamson’s book).

LOVE- It forces you to look at history and realize the need for authentic and transparent restitution and reconciliation for those abused, enslaved and decimated by our nation building. So yes, it is a book that lays out a counter radicalization. One that can steam roll extremism, and hate by healing the core causes, the root that is fear and anger.

It is the radicalization of a life of love.

Thanks to our public library, the wifey and I finally had a in home date night and watched Purge Election Year, the third movie in the Purge series. Not familiar with the horror franchise? It is another mirror of where a dystopian future that we may not be that far away from, written and directed by James Demonaco.

It is quite simply the shadowing of where corporate controlled populism leads. The New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) have “saved” the country by rising to power and instituting a purge night. 12 hours once a year where everything is legal and murder is encouraged with immunity.

As the series progresses you see the way this works out on different socio-economics, within the first two films certain political levels are protected. By the third installment the rebellion is beginning to take route, and there is a candidate heading for the oval office who is anti-purge.  Cue the battle driven by the NFFA and the NRA (great lines of where Purge Night is brought to you by in the film I am still amazed made it through editing). As well, a look into the “Religious Right” cult that has formed around Purge night, with the elite holding Purge Mass to celebrate their own release, and the “herds” they have rounded up to execute slowly, including a plan to assassinate the voices of dissent this night.

Why do stories like this matter? Films, books and other forms of media speak out against what is wrong. As the story is revealed there becomes  a parallel for the military complex, gun “rights” run amuck that are used to create our own purge in this day and age of the lower socio-economic classes.

For that is what “saved America” the outplaying of the story that if you are disadvantaged or ill it is your own cause storyline in extremist propaganda… so purge and release. The saving is that the majority killed during the purge are those that when it comes to simple black and red ink budgeting on government budget sheets come out as debits: the elderly, the sick, those on social assistance, etc.

A stark reality of showing how eugenics can still be used to play a role in our world, but also a warning of seeing people as labels and others, and breaking down our communities into debits/credits. Breaking people down to simply numbers, and not seeing people collectively as a whole, that we are here to support and move forward with.

Why do the Purge movies matter? Simple, populism, voices of the people, activists even politicians and corporations or religion are not the issue. The issue is when all these things become twisted for power and control in the role and ideology of fundamentalism and extremism hiding behind labels. These extremists that create an us and them society, that time and again throughout history have wreaked havoc and destruction of people and society. This is the warning once again found in art, through 3 simple horror movies, if we are willing to listen, constructively think, and realize there is different choices to be made.

So are you willing to answer the question of who is my neighbour?

Are we willing to acknowledge our neighbour as a value to society?

Are we willing to realize the purge needed is of the extremes? Purge the labels? Purge that which destroys and distorts?

Are we ready to purge and purify our true being to become one with one another?