Inch by inch. Step by step. It could be the lyrics to a country and western song featured at the Calgary Stampede, but in reality it was the progress Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was making Sunday as he attended a pancake breakfast in Calgary.
The annual 10-day celebration of the cowboy way of life has become an irresistible magnet for politicians of all political stripes.
Mr. Trudeau is no exception and has made an appearance year-after-year.
“This is a moment to gather and to celebrate being able to gather once again. It’s great to see everyone in person. Happy Stampede,” said Mr. Trudeau, who was attending a breakfast hosted by his lone Liberal MP in Calgary, George Chahal.
Mr. Trudeau briefly referenced the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and global events before spending some time flipping pancakes.
“It’s been a tough couple of years where people have had to pull together and make it through and we really saw the strength of community,” he said.
“We’re facing more challenges with the war in Ukraine and with the global inflation crisis, but at the same time we’re seeing it – time and time again – Canadians stepping up and being there for each other.”
A lone protester, carrying a Canadian flag, yelled “traitor” a number of times before being quietly escorted out of the parking lot and across the street.
Mr. Trudeau was mobbed as he slowly made his way through the crowd, posing for pictures, holding small children and shaking hands.
He also visited the Stampede grounds and appeared at a Liberal fundraiser later in the day.
At the Stampede, Mr. Trudeau met with the Stampede’s veterinarian and some students who are researching animal safety. They walked along the horses in the pens behind the grandstand infield as they talked.
He then met with Mayor Jyoti Gondek, who welcomed him to Calgary.
Mr. Trudeau also went to one of the barns and talked to some heavy horse owners before walking through the crowds on the grounds, where many young families were attending.
People stopped him and asked for selfies as he talked about how nice it was to be back at the event. Others, including refugees from Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan, thanked him. One woman from Calgary thanked him for helping to save her home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A few people could be heard muttering negative comments under their breath, before walking away. Others yelled in the background.
The Prime Minister’s visit came on the heels of the federal Conservative barbecue in Calgary on Saturday night where four of the five leadership candidates had an opportunity to impress supporters before the party elects a leader in September.
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