Council chapters in Ontario prepare to ask Trudeau questions

The Council of Canadians London, Quinte and Peterborough-Kawarthas chapters are preparing to ask Justin Trudeau questions during his upcoming town hall tour.

The Globe and Mail has reported, "Trudeau is planning to embark on a campaign-style tour, talking to average folks at coffee shops and church basements across the country. The events will be a mix of traditional townhall-style, question-and-answer sessions and more informal mingling with people in coffee shops and church basements."

The tour is believed to be a response to a drop in the polls and negative media attention in relation to Trudeau's winter holiday at a billionaire's private island in the Bahamas, cash-for-access fundraising, the approval of two tar sands pipelines, and flip-flopping on their promise to implement electoral reform.

Both Thomas Walkom and Rick Salutin have recently commented in The Toronto Star about Trudeau's efforts to blend neo-liberalism (support for corporate 'free trade' deals like the Canada-European Union agreement, privatization through the new federal infrastructure bank, and fiscal austerity particularly on health care spending) and populism (or as Walkom says, "neo-liberalism with a human face").

While Trudeau's schedule hasn't been fully announced, our chapters will be at the following events:

  • Quinte chapter - Empire Theatre, Belleville, Thursday January 12, 5:45 pm
  • Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter - Evinrude Centre, Peterborough, Friday January 13, 10:15 am
  • London chapter - South London Community Centre, London, Friday January 13, 6:45 pm

It would appear that people are being asked to RSVP to their Member of Parliament for these public meetings.

The Peterborough Examiner reports, "The tour is expected to take six or seven days over the next three weeks. Trudeau will intersperse it with some international travel and he is also holding a cabinet retreat in Calgary, Jan. 23 and 24. During the tour, the prime minister will be stopping at three or four communities per day." The Globe and Mail adds, "[The Ontario stops] will be followed up by stops in British Columbia, Quebec and the Prairies, with events still being planned for the Atlantic provinces."

The government says, "This tour is an opportunity for the Prime Minister to remain connected with Canadians and engage with them across the country, at home in their communities. The Prime Minister wants to hear from you about how you are feeling as we enter the new year."

That said, it's also an opportunity to ask questions about free trade deals, tar sands pipelines and climate change, health care funding, water protection, and electoral reform as well as to put forward the positive vision outlined in Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow's vision for 2017.

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