Populist, grassroots, meet and potato style politics: That used be the mantra of the old Reform Party.
It looks as if Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is strategically adopting a bit of that philosophy.
The Canadian Press is reporting that Trudeau will visit flood ravaged Calgary next week, during the Stampede, and will actually assist in clean-up efforts.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he intends to roll up his sleeves and help with the cleanup after last week's devastating flooding, which submerged the Stampede grounds and much of the downtown core.
A spokesperson for Trudeau says that the new Liberal leader intends to get his hands dirty.
"He will indeed be participating in the efforts. Details are yet to be confirmed, depending on how the situation evolves," Kate Monfette told Yahoo! Canada News in an email.
In follow-up email, Yahoo! asked if Trudeau might be shoveling mud or tossing sandbags.
"Could be any of the above really," she replied. "We are trying to find out how we can be most useful."
If Trudeau actually does it — for an extended period of time — without it being just another photo-op, it would be pretty significant. You don't see a lot of politicians actually getting their hands dirty.
[ Related: Is Justin Trudeau getting a free ride by the media? ]
Trudeau is walking the talk when it comes to 'listening to Canadians' as well. He continues to visit shopping mall food courts across the country meeting the average Joe and Jill.
The Liberal Party has also come up with a fundraising 'stunt' whereby any one who donates money between now and June 30 is entered to win a BBQ dinner with Justin and four of your friends.
"It’s about doing things differently — sitting by the BBQ and having a real, one-on-one conversation about the Canada we want to build," Trudeau wrote in a blog post on the Liberal website.
"I believe in the power of having personal conversations with Canadians — that’s how we’re going to do things differently and that’s what this contest is about."
Yes it's a gimmick but it's also populist politics at it's best.
And, as the Reform Party turned Alliance turned Conservatives learned many years ago, grassroots populist politics is how you win votes when the governing party is marred with scandal, faced with accusations about PMO control and criticized about a lack of transparency.
(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)
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