Preston Manning, a founder of the Reform Party of Canada, which was a precursor to the current Conservative Party, says the country could use a new batch of politicians with updated skills.

Manning spoke in Saskatoon Tuesday to an audience of University of Saskatchewan students who are interested in politics.

According to Manning, support for — and interest in — political parties and Parliament is on the decline in Canada, especially among young people.

He suggests reforming not only the institutions but the calibre of people engaged in politics.

"Redesign the participants, not just the chambers," Manning said. "Raise the skill and inspirational capacity [of] the people that are visible — particularly candidates for elected office."

He said improvements in politicians could "revitalize interest in democratic processes."

Manning was leader of the official Opposition from 1997 to 2000.

He is currently a senior fellow of the Fraser Institute, and runs the Manning Centre for Building Democracy.

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  • All info comes from the <a href="">Hill Times' most influential people in government list for 2013</a>.

  • 10. Wayne Wouters

    Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to Cabinet.

  • 9. Nigel Wright

    Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister.

  • 8. Thomas Mulcair

    Leader of the federal NDP.

  • 7. Mark Carney

    Governor of the Bank of Canada, but soon to become governor of the Bank of England.

  • 6. Ed Fast

    Minister for International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway.

  • 5. Tony Clement

    President of the Treasury Board.

  • 4. John Baird

    Minister of Foreign Affairs.

  • 3. Jason Kenney

    Minister of Immigration.

  • 2. Jim Flaherty

    Minister of Finance.

  • 1. Stephen Harper

    Prime Minister of Canada.