By Kristy Koehler, October 20 2019—
On Oct. 19, with just a day left before Canada heads to the polls, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a late-night whistle stop in Calgary.
By 9:30 p.m., a long line of supporters was already waiting in the cold outside the Magnolia Banquet Hall in the riding of Calgary Skyview to hear the Prime Minister speak. Protesters had also gathered, some donning yellow vests and others wielding “Trudeau for Treason” signs. Earlier in the day, the United Conservative Party called on its supporters to stage a protest outside the banquet hall but encouraged them to remain respectful, polite and not interfere with the private event.
Trudeau’s event was scheduled to begin at 9:45 p.m, but it took a while to move the line into the hall, owing to increased security measures after he was forced to don a bulletproof vest for last week’s rally in Toronto.
Calgary Skyview Liberal Party candidate Nirmala Naidoo greeted the crowd in advance of Trudeau’s entrance and reminded them that the riding was one of his first campaign stops in 2015.
“It’s because the city of Calgary matters to the Liberal Party of Canada, the province of Alberta matters to the Liberal Party of Canada,” she said to raucous applause. “And we will take no lessons from Conservatives who have taken us for granted.”
Then, with a hoarse voice and on his third campaign speech of the day, Trudeau addressed the packed house. He also reminisced about his 2015 campaign that saw four Liberals elected in Alberta.
“We had a very different vision than Stephen Harper did, for the future of our country, for the strength of our economy, and the future of our kids,” he said. “We knew that what we needed to do was invest in Canadians, invest in seniors, invest in young people, invest in families and, along the way, fight climate change and get our place back on the world stage, and that’s what we did.”
Trudeau dragged Harper’s “politics of fear and division,” Scheer’s late-released platform and got in a dig at the Conservative’s climate policies.
“It was surprising, for once, to see the Conservative party decide to recycle,” Trudeau said, calling Scheer’s platform reminiscent of Harper-era policies. “Recycling is not their strong suit.”
Trudeau promised more for students, citing his platform intentions to make education more affordable.
He also made an effort to ensure Albertans didn’t feel overlooked by the Liberals, saying he knew there were many supporters in the province.
“I know, because over the past 10 years of my political life, I’ve been coming here to Alberta a few times every year to talk with you about your priorities, to listen to you, and I know that there are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of progressives who do not feel that Jason Kenney speaks for them,” he said.
After speaking for about 15 minutes, he finished with a last-minute appeal to get voters to the polls on Monday.
“We need you to send strong Alberta voices to Ottawa to make sure that we keep moving forward in a way that includes everyone from coast to coast to coast,” he said. “We choose forward!”
More than once, the enthusiastic crowd burst into chants of “Trudeau, Trudeau, Trudeau,” perhaps proving his point that there are indeed Liberals in Calgary.
Trudeau took no questions from the media and exited the stage to the sound of his campaign song, “One Hand Up” by The Strumbellas:
“We can be the change that we want to see / Just don’t give up on me.”