Trudeau rallies Liberal door-knockers for Fuller

By: By Ian Tennant

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 12:18 pm

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau greets supporters at the Okotoks Elks Club on May 8. Trudeau was in town to help Liberal candidate Dustin Fuller knock on doors in preparation for the June 30 byelection.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau greets supporters at the Okotoks Elks Club on May 8. Trudeau was in town to help Liberal candidate Dustin Fuller knock on doors in preparation for the June 30 byelection.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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Justin Trudeau swept past two anti-abortion protestors at the Okotoks Elks Club on May 8 with the ultimate ease of a veteran politician.

“I’m supporting the charter,” said the Liberal leader as he left two men in his wake carrying signs that said, “Pro life is a charter right,” and, “Vote Justin. Abort the future.”

“I don’t think the government should be legislating a woman’s body,” said Trudeau effortlessly, not missing a step as he headed for the club’s basement and a rally in support of local candidate Dustin Fuller.

If only the next six weeks will be as easy for Fuller as those few moments on an Okotoks sidewalk were for Trudeau.

“I have the uphill battle,” Fuller acknowledged after Trudeau rallied Liberal supporters then fielded journalists’ questions in a media scrum.

Fuller said he has logged 6,500 km in the huge Macleod riding, which stretches from the southern edge of Cochrane in the north past Pincher Creek in the south, and from the B.C. border east past Fort Macleod and Vulcan.

“I’ve got neighbours down the street from me who are Conservative voters,” noted the Okotoks resident but, he added, “these are my stomping grounds.”

Okotoks is also the stomping grounds for John Barlow, the Conservative candidate, while the Green party’s Larry Ashmore is from the Turner Valley-Black Diamond area.

Fuller claims people are listening to his Liberal message and he is hearing that the time might be right for a change.

“I’m getting jazzed up by the prospect,” said Fuller that the majority of Macleod voters might be ready break their longstanding tradition of supporting conservative candidates.

The last time a Liberal was elected in the Macleod riding was in 1911, when David Warnock, a veterinarian, defeated incumbent John Herron, a rancher representing the Liberal-Conservatives, by 819 votes.

At the May 8 rally, Trudeau urged his supporters to “get out and meet our neighbours.”

“I have committed to running a positive campaign that focuses on issues that Canadians are facing,” Trudeau told the crowd of about 100.

He said people who hold different views than the Liberals “are not our enemies, our adversaries, they are our neighbours, our friends.”

The event preceded a door-knocking effort by local Liberals. Trudeau urged on his local supporters: “We are going to make people know the Liberal party is here!”

Fuller said on May 12 that he and Trudeau knocked on doors for about a block in the Crystal Ridge area of Okotoks.

“There was a ‘wow factor,’” said Fuller, when residents answered the door and found Justin Trudeau on their doorstep.

“It was a real treat for me to have him out there,” said Fuller.

At the Elks Club, while Trudeau was fielding media questions about his recent declaration that Liberal candidates must be pro-choice, and that the Conservative government’s poor environmental record is to blame the delays in U.S. approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, two women discussed the Liberals’ chances in Conservative country.

Cherlyanne Mueller, from Lethbridge, admitted she is on the fence regarding the Liberal and Conservative parties, but added the Liberals “have a really great message.”

Mueller, however, also admitted to a bias: her daughter Amber is dating Fuller.

Andrea Hunt, from Langdon, noted people tend to forget that Liberals have been elected in Alberta.

“I can remember when it was all (Liberal) red,” she said.

Allen Sulatycky won for the Liberals in 1968 when part of this region was included in the Rocky Mountain riding. Alberta voters elected three Liberal MPs that year when Justin’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was first elected prime minister.

Sulatycky lost in 1972 to Progressive Conservative Joe Clark, a future prime minister.


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