EDMONTON – Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau paid tribute to what he called Alberta’s “entrepreneurial spirit” as he took the stage during a rally Tuesday night in a downtown Edmonton park.
Trudeau said it’s Alberta’s drive to succeed that turns “resource opportunities” into economic realities” and attracts people from across Canada and around the world.
But he said too many parts of the country aren’t sharing in the same success.
“We need to do more to grow Canada’s economy and to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are felt more broadly,” Trudeau said, noting that Albertans also deserve more from the province’s growth.
“Here in Alberta, serving Canada is also about making sure that public services actually keep up with the tremendous growth we’ve seen in Okotoks, Fort McMurray and right here in Edmonton.”
“Just as all of Canada benefits from that growth, the government of Canada must share in the responsibility to do right by the people who call those communities home.”
Trudeau and the Liberal caucus were in Edmonton for their summer retreat.
The federal Liberals have no seats in Alberta, but the rally still drew close to 300 people who waited for an hour for the events to begin, and who lingered long afterward for photos with Trudeau.
Shazeal Taylor said she voted NDP in the last federal election, but said she was curious to see Trudeau.
“He kind of stands out. It sets him apart. The last time I voted for NDP because they were a bit different from the Conservatives, and I felt there was nothing really that separated Liberal and Conservatives,” said Taylor, who said environmental and aboriginal issues were important to her.
Kathy Owens and Joan Jagodnik campaigned for the NDP in the last election, but were considering voting Liberal as a means of defeating the Conservatives.
“I don’t think there’s enough interest in the NDP right now, especially in Alberta,” Owens explained.
Jagodnik, however, said it would still take a lot for her to consider abandoning the NDP.
“Only if absolutely necessary,” she said. “I’m totally a (NDP Leader) Thomas Mulcair supporter.”
Trudeau addressed the issue of jobs versus environmental protection at the rally, noting the two needed to happen together.
He also slammed Prime Minister Stephen Harper for failing to deliver on promises to reform the Senate.
Mike Schultz, who said he’s voted for several parties, said he liked Trudeau for what he saw as an attempt to “unify Canadians.”
“I’ve got neighbours who are Conservative or Liberal. I’m happy to have either side coaching my kids soccer teams,” he said.