Justin Trudeau promises representation for Muskoka
MUSKOKA - Justin Trudeau’s vision for Canada brought cheers, applause and laughter when he told Muskokans they will be represented in the government.
The celebrity politician thrilled an audience of more than 300 people with his platform in the federal Liberal leadership race at the Bracebridge Sportsplex on Friday, Feb. 15
He emphasized that he wants every area of Canada to be represented by electing officials instead of appointing them and ensuring each piece of legislation gets support across the entire country.
“If this riding starts clamoring, as I know you will, for more gazebos, you will get them,” Trudeau told the audience.
Becoming more serious at a press conference following his speech, he told media that representation would also be the voice for Muskoka’s social ills.
“One of the things that I’d make sure we have is a very strong voice for Muskoka to make sure that the issues of poverty and community and the challenges that people are facing here and across the country are actually reflected,” he said.
His speech of hope, a Canada united in its focus, and a government of service supported by its grassroots was interspersed with loud applause, nods and the flash of cameras.
He tried to squelch any ideas that he is trying to gain popularity through his father’s accomplishments as prime minister.
“If they were coming out by the hundreds in rural Alberta, it wasn’t because of what my last name is,” he joked with the audience.
During the question period following his speech, a member of the audience asked Trudeau how he plans to live up to his claims of turning around public cynicism of the Canadian government.
Trudeau said sees the centralization of power at the prime minister’s office turning around and bringing in a different kind of candidate - young activists, doctors and lawyers in the community. He said their needs to be grassroots support with the focus not on winning, but on serving.
“Public service is very good and is the best way to turn around public cynicism,” he said.
Muskokans were also concerned about healthcare, which Trudeau said needs to be kept attainable and approached in a “smarter” way. He spoke of providing support to keep people at home longer instead of sending them to hospitals.
“You have to look at health care as not a response, but to keep people healthier longer,” he said.
When questioned on his plans for tourism by the media, Trudeau said one of the difficulties with tourism in Canada is the expense of air travel and airplane landing fees.
“The advertising budgets that this government is spending on propaganda to tell Canadians how great a job they’re doing would be much better spent around the world in getting people to come and enjoy beautiful areas like Muskoka,” Trudeau said.
For the environment he simply said it goes hand in hand with the economy.
“You no longer make a choice between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy, the two go together,” he said.
Amongst the visionary speech and promises, he put some of the responsibility back on Canadians.
“We need to expect better, demand more, from communities and leaders, but mostly to demand more of ourselves,” Trudeau said.
On his way to the stage before the presentation, the celebrity shook hands, autographed memorabilia from papers to mugs, and calmed an upset child.
Nine-month-old Stuart Hudswell initially didn’t appreciate the rare opportunity of ending up in Trudeau’s arms, but was soon calmed by the father of two after a few moments.
“He obviously has a magic touch with our son,” Hudswell’s mother said.
She said she came to the event because she wanted to see Trudeau, but they are still considering their political options.
Trudeau’s speech ended with a French farewell drowned out by a cheering audience and followed by a presentation of two photos of his first trip to Muskoka in 1974 and a crate of goods from the Muskoka Brewery. As he stepped down from the stage, he was thronged with people wanting to ask further questions before he left for a photo op with the local liberal party, a press conference, and eventually made his way to the rock climbing wall where he shook hands with a few young rock climbers and tried out the wall.