Recapping the scenes of the Prime Minister's visit to Kamloops - InfoNews

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Recapping the scenes of the Prime Minister's visit to Kamloops

Justin Trudeau at his town hall meeting at TRU on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.
January 11, 2019 - 3:30 PM

KAMLOOPS — If you haven’t heard already — how could you miss it? — Canada’s Prime Minister was in Kamloops this week.

It was Justin Trudeau’s first town hall of 2019 and while he was here, he also kicked off the start of his Liberal party campaign with a fundraiser and full itinerary meetings with local dignitaries and the public as well in between the two events.

Trudeau and his large entourage arrived in the city on the morning of Jan. 9. His fundraiser took place at the Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre. The $300-a-ticket event was set to start by 11 a.m. but by 9, several different protest groups had already gathered outside the hotel to express their frustrations or support with the Prime Minister.

Chants and drumming could be heard all around the hotel. Protesters lined both sides of the road, including some members from the yellow vest movement, others from the Tiny House Warriors and individuals from Share B.C., a pro-resource group supporting the country’s energy sector.

A large police presence could be seen in the area by mid-morning with officers there to help with the traffic heading in and out of the hotel parking lot as well as to help maintain peace with the hundreds of protesters from different groups.

Two men ended up getting arrested during the protests, according to police.

Protesters from the Tiny House Warriors were there to voice their opposition of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Nicole Manuel with the Indigenous group showed a video on her phone of one of their group members being dragged away by police.

“Justin Trudeau is a criminal!” can be heard being shouted over a megaphone by a female as RCMP officers arrest a man outside the hotel in the video.

Protestors drumming and singing outside the hotel Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was set to speak at in Kamloops on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.
Protestors drumming and singing outside the hotel Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was set to speak at in Kamloops on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.

Inside the hotel, news media were invited to hear the Prime Minister’s opening remarks at his fundraiser party. Reporters were required to check in 30 minutes early so RCMP officers could check equipment for explosives with police dogs and detection machines.

Once the Prime Minister was ready to take the stage, media were escorted in a single-file line to the area. Several Liberal supporters filled a dimly lit room with police and security also scattered around.

Trudeau was introduced and he spoke for approximately 10 minutes about the accomplishments of the Liberal government during his time in office — the majority of it in English and then briefly in French.

“It is my pleasure to be back here,” Trudeau said. “As a few people have reminded me I was here in January 2013 on my quest to become Liberal leader and it was actually one of the very first town halls I would do as a politician.”

Shortly after Trudeau was finished speaking on stage, the fundraiser was closed off to participants only.

After the luncheon, Trudeau met with the city’s mayor Ken Christian, Chief Ronald E. Ignace of the Skeetchestn Indian Band and Chief Roseanne Casimir of Tk’emlups te Secwepemc. All meetings were closed to media.

Later in the evening, Trudeau’s first town hall meeting of the year gathered a two-hour lineup outside of the Old Gymnasium at TRU. Again, dozens of police officers and security surrounded the university campus.

Once everyone was in the gymnasium, Kelowna-Lake Country Liberal MP Stephen Fuhr introduced Trudeau and it didn’t take long for the meeting to become dominated with questions regarding Indigenous and pipeline issues.

But some questions weren’t as hard-hitting as others. With several young people and university students attending; some just wanted to know what the best part of a Prime Minister’s day is or how he manages to keep a positive outlook while leading the country.

Some questions weren’t even questions and left the Prime Minister literally scratching his head.

“From all of us, just push (U.S. President Donald Trump) off a cliff, we’re good, like really, I’ll buy you a beer,” said the man while the crowd laughed.

Trudeau replied with, “I wasn’t expecting a threat of violence against our closest ally,” before going onto to explain the relationship between Canada and the U.S. goes far deeper than who happens to be President and Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister also answered questions regarding climate change and Canada’s refugee program.

Although some exchanges between question-askers and the prime minister weren’t as light-hearted as others, Trudeau handled all outbursts and interruptions calmly.

The meeting wrapped up with some people being able to grab selfies with the Prime Minister as he left the gymnasium.

For more on Trudeau's visit to Kamloops go here.

A woman waves a Canadian flag as she sits in the front row of Justin Trudeau's town hall meeting at TRU on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.
A woman waves a Canadian flag as she sits in the front row of Justin Trudeau's town hall meeting at TRU on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
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