Justin Trudeau hollered past the heckling laughter across the way. The Liberal leader, fresh from a trip to Fort McMurray, Alta., claimed that residents in the oil town were upset with their putative Tory friends in Ottawa. They feel taken for granted, he said, and part of the problem is the unchecked proliferation of temporary foreign workers in northern Alberta. Fix what ails these patriotic souls, Trudeau demanded.
The jeers were predictable. Tories laugh at Liberals who think they can win in Alberta. Tories laugh at Trudeau’s consistent absence from the House of Commons as he trots around the country, talking to people. That kind of hooky from the Commons may have sealed former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s fate in 2011—recall the late Jack Layton’s jab during one of the debates—but Trudeau’s intent on transforming a losing strategy into a winner.
Trudeau’s trip to Fort McMurray effectively launched a campaign to sink Tory hopes in a by-election slated for June 30. Here was his speech at the Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre May 9, with candidate Kyle Harrietha by his side.