Justin Trudeau and cabinet draw overflow crowd to St. Andrews spaghetti supper
Prime minister the star attraction at New Brunswick community event
If the people of southwest New Brunswick can't find spaghetti on the shelves of their local grocery stores tomorrow, they can blame Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Organizers of a community supper Monday night at the W.C. O'Neill Arena Complex in St. Andrews had to buy all the spaghetti in the area in order to feed the 300 local people who showed up early enough to get seats. Following rules set out by the fire marshal, 100 more stood patiently on the threshold of the dining room, in the stairwell and in a long line outside the building.
Much to the chagrin of those tasked with keeping the prime minister on schedule, Trudeau stopped to chat with many of them and snap a selfie.
Much has been made of Trudeau's star power among other world leaders on the international stage, but for about an hour last night, the people of St. Andrews had him all to themselves, and they made the most of it.
Children dressed up for the event in three-piece suits and glittery party dresses, while one chose a Superman costume. Canadian Forces veterans wore their medals on their jackets and several people brought photos from the time Trudeau's father was in town in 1973.
'I'm standing next to an astronaut!'
Trudeau didn't work the room alone. A dozen cabinet members were there, including Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
"I'm standing next to an astronaut!", Michael McEachern said as he edged in closer for a chance to talk with Garneau.
Diane Ingersoll said she never expected the whole cabinet to show up.
"This is really exciting. It's exciting for everyone. I think it brings Canada into the community," said Ingersoll as her eyes scanned the room.
She was looking for Hunter Tootoo, the minister of fisheries.
"It's very exciting to see him," she said. "I think he's wearing sealskin. I love that."
When Tootoo came over, Ingersoll ran her hands down the sleeve of his coat as they chatted.
"You've got a big job ahead of you," a veteran told Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.
"I've got great mentors, people like you," Sajjan replied, before posing for a group photo with a bunch of other vets eager to share their war stories with the minister.
The event had the high-energy feel of a campaign stop, something many of these cabinet ministers likely haven't felt since they were sworn in.
Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr was eager to plunge in and shake hands. He's spending another day in New Brunswick after the retreat wraps up to, among other things, tour the local Irving Oil refinery.
This is, after all, a business trip.
Read more about the cabinet retreat: