Prime Minister keeps personal Stampede appearance streak alive
Weeks after announcing he would be unable to attend the 2017 edition of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, modifications to his schedule allowed Justin Trudeau to once again set foot on the Stampede grounds.
“It’s a great pleasure to be back in Calgary again,” said Trudeau. ““There are going to be years where a Liberal is more or less popular here in Calgary, and I recognize that, but the fact is the appreciation that people have when folks come out representing the country understanding what an extraordinary celebration of not just Calgary and Albertan values, but Canadian values, Stampede really is.”
“It’s really important to be here and I’m certainly going to keep coming back.”
Trudeau’s return to the Calgary Stampede comes two weeks after the Prime Minister neglected to mention Alberta during a listing of provinces and territories in his Canada Day address. Minutes later, the oversight was addressed by the Prime Minister.
On Saturday, a handful of Albertans went out of their way to remind Trudeau of the flub.
“I got a couple of people teasing me for it but no one’s made a big deal out of it,” laughed Trudeau. “It’s sort of a gentle ribbing. I think everyone understands that mistakes happen every now and then.”
“The fact that I keep coming back to Alberta regularly to connect with people and to work on issues that matter to Albertans is something that I know most people appreciate very much.”
Lori Williams, an associate professor of policy studies at Mount Royal University, says the Prime Minister’s hectic schedule of late (the G-20 summit in Germany and the summer meeting of the National Governors Association in Rhode Island) would have justified him skipping this year’s Stampede festivities. She says Trudeau’s Calgary appearance delivers a message.
“I just think that he’s not taking Alberta for granted, he’s taking Alberta and Calgary seriously, not just in terms of visits but in terms of policies,” said Williams. “I think this was sort of an extra addition to his schedule because of that gaffe, neglecting to mention Alberta during his speech on Canada Day, and he just wanted to come and express hit gratitude for Alberta and for Calgary and to reconnect to the folks in the city.”
According to Williams, Trudeau’s appearance says a considerable amount about the perception federal parties now have of Alberta.
“The thing that’s interesting is it’s such a contrast to what we’ve seen historically,” explained Williams. “It used to be Alberta was sort of something they waved (at) on their way by. Stephen Harper, during campaigns, didn’t even make many visits here because it was a foregone conclusion how people were going to vote.”
“The fact that Alberta is in play has meant that a lot more federal politicians have spent time here than historically used to be the case.”
During his time in Calgary, the Prime Minister met with Mayor Nenshi, attended several Stampede breakfasts, visited the Calgary Stampede’s Indian Village and took in some of the Calgary Stampede’s rodeo events from the infield.