Liberal Leader coming to Okotoks

Politics: Justin Trudeau to host meet and greet event Jan. 22

By: Don Patterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014 06:00 am

Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party of Canada leader
Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party of Canada leader
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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is bringing his party’s campaign to the heart of Conservative territory with a visit to Okotoks.

Trudeau will be at the Foothills Community Centre tonight, Wednesday, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to meet with residents in the Macleod Riding.

Trudeau’s spokesperson Kate Purchase said Trudeau will make a brief speech, but the event will largely be an informal environment for people to get the opportunity to meet Trudeau in person.

“He’s really excited to be heading out there... he believes Okotoks deserves a strong community voice in Ottawa,” she said.

Stan Shedd, former president of the Macleod Liberal Riding Association, said he is pleased to see Trudeau coming to Okotoks and he would like to see leading Liberal MPs pay more attention to Macleod.

“I wish people would come out more often, it might help,” he said.

While Shedd is no longer the head of the local riding association, he said he plans to be at the Trudeau event.

He said it’s not Trudeau’s first time in the foothills.

Trudeau joined the other party leaders in visiting High River after last year’s flood, and even grabbed a shovel and joined the bucket brigades helping to clean out flooded basements in the town.

Shedd said events like this help the party to “show the flag” in communities around the country and it keeps the other parties on their toes.

“Part of it is to make sure no riding is ignored, if you write off ridings then the opposing parties don’t have to make any effort,” said Shedd. “This ensures they are having to campaign here, spend some money here and make an effort to talk to people.”

Shedd said he believes Trudeau’s leadership has helped the party to turn its fortunes around after the last election when the party ended up with just 34 seats in the House of Commons, down from the previous 77 seats.

“They’ve gone from a distant third to being a leader in the polls,” he said. “It’s a massive change.”

The Liberal Party has come in fourth in the Macleod Riding in the last two elections, receiving 5.9 per cent of the vote in 2008 and 3.7 per cent in 2011.

Shedd predicted the party will earn more votes in the Macleod Riding in the next election thanks to Trudeau’s leadership and the ongoing senate scandal.

“It depends on who they get as a local candidate, but I think it’ll have some effect,” he said. “If nothing else, people who don’t bother to go out and vote because they don’t think there’s any point in it may decide, ‘we’ll go out and vote because we want to support him.’”

There is no charge to attend the event, but people are asked to RSVP at http://events.liberal.ca.


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