Calgary

Justin Trudeau will attend Calgary Stampede after initially bucking event

The Stampede tends to attract as many politicians as cowboys, with politicos of all stripes taking advantage of the opportunity to shake a lot of hands and dole out significant amounts of pancakes.

Prime minister initially said he couldn't make the annual party, but has since changed his mind

Justin Trudeau, pictured at the Stampede in 2016, first said he couldn't make this year's event, but has since changed his mind. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be donning western wear after all. 

Earlier this month his office said he could not fit the Calgary Stampede into his schedule, which included the G20 meetings in Germany, but it now says he'll attend. 

"The Prime Minister is happy to be spending time in Calgary on Saturday following the National Governors Association conference in Rhode Island, and he is looking forward to celebrating Stampede alongside Albertans, as he has done for years," read a statement on Tuesday from Cameron Ahmad, the media relations manager with the Prime Minister's Office. 

"We'll have specific details in the Prime Minister's daily itinerary, to be issued on Friday."

Politicos and cowboys

The Stampede tends to attract as many politicians as cowboys, with politicos of all stripes taking advantage of the opportunity to shake a lot of hands and dole out significant amounts of pancakes. 

Andrew Scheer made his Stampede debut as Conservative leader on Saturday, speaking to a roomful of party faithful at an event hosted for years by former prime minister Stephen Harper.

During the years of Conservative rule in Ottawa it was a long-running joke that Albertans only saw some of their MPs, including Harper, during the annual party. 

It's become rare for a sitting prime minister to skip the event, particularly one who's made an effort to woo Albertans as Justin Trudeau has. 

His decision to visit the city comes after he forgot to mention Alberta while listing the provinces and territories in his Canada Day speech, something for which his critics howled and for which he immediately apologized.

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