KAMLOOPS — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was met with praise and applause inside the Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre as he spoke to a crowd of supporters at a Liberal Party fundraiser.
"This year, in my first real public event of 2019 — which, as we all know is going to be a big year in terms of politics — it's an extraordinary pleasure to kick it off with all of you here in Kamloops. So thank you for coming this morning."
Outside it was a different scene, with various groups gathering well before Trudeau's arrival, expressing their disapproval of the nation's leader through signs and chants. And the groups were far from on the same page, with some calling on Trudeau to decarbonize the economy, and others saying Canada is already carbon neutral due to its vast forests.
Despite the frustrations among the crowd, the protests were relatively peaceful. One group even offered lunch to Trudeau and an opportunity to sit down and discuss some concerns.
Inside, the prime minister addressed that many different views are emerging ahead of this year's federal election.
"We will always have, in this country, perspectives that vary widely from region to region. That's one of the reasons why we need such great, strong voices from every region across the country, weighing in on how to build a better path forward for us all. And that's also why we have to take the time to listen to each other and understand each other."
During his speech, Trudeau listed party accomplishments over the past year, citing the closing of a new NAFTA deal, the legalization of cannabis and linking the Canada Child Benefit to the cost of living two years earlier than scheduled.
"The idea of putting more money into people's pockets to help with the cost of raising their kids has such a positive and serious impact in growing our economy and creating jobs and creating confidence among Canadians in their own futures and their kids' futures, and we were able to move forward on that."
Following the dinner, Trudeau spoke with Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian during a one-on-one meeting, before meeting with Tk'emlups te Secwepemc Chief Roseanne Casimir and Skeetchestn Chief Ron Ignace.
Trudeau has a free, public town hall meeting slated for 7:00 this evening at Thompson Rivers University.
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