April 02, 2016 - 6:30 PM
HALIFAX - Dozens of people swarmed Justin Trudeau at a farmer's market in Halifax on Saturday as the prime minister took time to shake hands, cuddle babies and take selfies with eager fans.
Trudeau — casually dressed in grey suede shoes, jeans, navy blazer and light blue button-up shirt — slowly made his way through the busy market on the Halifax waterfront, stopping to talk to vendors and enthusiastic supporters.
Trudeau was passed several babies and was seen gently bouncing them in his arms. He wore a sunny smile as he pressed his cheek up against one tiny blue-eyed baby's face.
Surrounded by a security detail and swarms of people, Trudeau spent roughly 45 minutes at the market and accepted a few gifts, including a cutting board from Halifax craftsman Steve Hopper.
"I gave him a different one last time he was in town," said Hopper as Trudeau headed up the stairs to the second floor of the market with the slow-moving crowd on his heels. "He told me he loves it."
Sisters Jillian Brown, 11, and Haley Brown, 17, drove 70 kilometres from Windsor, N.S., for a chance to meet the prime minister.
Haley Brown said she’s a Trudeau supporter because of the work he’s done to bring Syrian refugees into the country. She said the experience of shaking his hand is one she’ll cherish forever.
"We figured it would be our only opportunity to meet the prime minister so we woke up at the crack of dawn and drove all the way here from Windsor," said Brown, adding that the pair didn't get much sleep last night.
"It was an honour to meet him today. I didn't really say anything to him. I just shook his hand and stared at him. It was pretty great. He's very charming."
Later Saturday, Trudeau reflected on the party's election sweep of Atlantic Canada during a speech to his Nova Scotia counterparts.
Speaking at the Nova Scotia Liberal party's annual general meeting, Trudeau said the provincial and federal parties need to work together.
"Right now across Atlantic Canada we have Liberal governments at both the provincial and federal levels," said Trudeau to a packed ballroom at a downtown Halifax hotel.
"It's an unprecedented opportunity to advance our shared values and bring real, positive change to the lives of all Atlantic Canadians."
Trudeau also spoke about the need to modernize the federal party's constitution.
"Our party must be more open and accessible," he said. "Too often, our policy process felt closed off and difficult to navigate. Our existing constitution makes it tough for new Liberals to get in and stay engaged."
The constitution will be discussed at a party meeting in Winnipeg in May, he said.
Trudeau was also expected to meet with Premier Stephen McNeil on Saturday.
Follow (at)AlyThomson on Twitter.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016