New Brunswick

No tough questions for Justin Trudeau at town hall in Miramichi

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Miramichi Thursday night for a public town hall, as part of a series of meetings from coast to coast.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits city as part of a series of national discussions

A few selfies and other pictures were taken throughout the night. (Gabrielle Fahmy)

Justin Trudeau didn't face any tough questions at a town hall meeting attended by about 200 people at the James M. Hill Memorial High School in Miramichi on Thursday night.

Unlike the last time the prime minister held a public forum in New Brunswick, where he faced anger over the troubled Phoenix payroll system, Trudeau faced a mostly supportive crowd.

The meeting was part of a series taking place from coast to coast.

No one topic dominated the discussion. Questions ranged from pharmacare, to Lyme disease to U.S. President Donald Trump's transgender military ban.

A few people used their question to ask the prime minister for a selfie, others to say thank you, including a woman who said she was grateful for the legalization of marijuana and a Syrian refugee who expressed gratitude for her family's acceptance to Canada.

Trudeau was asked a question about the priorities for the rural economic development minister, a new portfolio announced last week. He said Bernadette Jordan's focus would be rural job creation, investing in infrastructure and access to high-speed internet.

Fernand Thibodeau, the representative for seasonal workers who held several protests against the EI 'black hole,' was also given a chance to speak.

Fernand Thibodeau spoke about the employment insurance 'black hole.' (CBC)

Thibodeau made a series of requests to the Prime Minister, including obtaining "protected region" status for the Restigouche-Albert employment insurance zone, and a private meeting to discuss the matter.

"As you know, people in the Acadian Peninsula suffer because of the black hole," said Thibodeau. "The problem is not fixed."

"It's not the workers that are seasonal, it's the work that's seasonal," answered Trudeau. The prime minister noted his government allocated $240 million for training programs and extended the benefits period by five weeks, but added that work remains to be done.

The crowd at the event was mostly supportive. (CBC)

Miramichi-Grand Lake MP Pat Finnigan, Fundy Royal MP Alaina Lockhart, Acadie-Bathurst MP Serge Cormier, Fredericton MP Matt DeCourcey, Miramichi Bay-Neguac MLA Lisa Harris and Miramichi Mayor Adam Lordon were all in attendance.

Trudeau was in Quispamsis Thursday morning, for a visit with families at the Origins Natural Learning Childcare centre, to talk about the Canada Child Benefit program.

Asked by reporters there to comment on the Francophonie Games, he said his government was still waiting on a funding proposal from New Brunswick.

On Wednesday night, Trudeau spoke briefly during a rally for Liberal MP Alaina Lockhart in the battleground riding of Fundy Royal.

Other cross-country town halls meetings have included Kamloops, B.C., Regina, Sask., St. Catharines, Ont., Belleville, Ont., Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., and La Loche, Sask.