Nova Scotia

Justin Trudeau calls for more 'open and accessible' Liberal Party at Halifax meeting

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told supporters that the party needs to 'be more open and accessible' while speaking at the Nova Scotia Liberal Party's annual general meeting in Halifax on Saturday.

Nova Scotia Liberals' annual general meeting runs Friday to Sunday

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked members of the Liberal party for their support during the fall election campaign. (CBC)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told supporters that the party needs to "be more open and accessible" while speaking at the Nova Scotia Liberal Party's annual general meeting in Halifax on Saturday.

With hundreds of people packed into the main ballroom of a downtown hotel for the speech, Trudeau said it was time for the party to draft a new national constitution that would help new members stay more engaged. 

"We need to be courageous and we need to show once again that the Liberal party is not afraid of challenging the status quo, even if it means challenging our own traditions," he told a crowd of about 500.

"Canadians are counting on us to keep building, modernizing and opening up our movement. And we cannot let them down."

Thanking party members

Trudeau — who last spoke in Halifax during a campaign stop in the final 48 hours of last fall's federal election — started off his 20-minute speech Saturday by thanking party members and volunteers for their support.

"[Our campaign] was research-driven, it was data-driven, it was values-driven and it was driven by incredibly hard work by all our volunteers," he said. 

With Liberal governments currently in place in all four Atlantic provinces, Trudeau called the sweep "an unprecedented opportunity to advance our shared values and bring positive change to the lives of all Atlantic Canadians."  

The crowd cheered as Trudeau referenced dropping the qualifying age for Old Age Security back to 65 and re-opening the Veterans Affairs office in Sydney, N.S. 

Meeting with premier

The Nova Scotia Liberals' AGM, taking place at the Westin Nova Scotian hotel in Halifax's south end, is a three-day event comprised of a series of meetings, ceremonies and votes. It runs from Friday to Sunday.

Before Saturday's meetings, Trudeau spent about an hour touring the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market, where hundreds of people gathered to greet the prime minister and possibly snag a selfie.

Trudeau met with Premier Stephen McNeil on Saturday afternoon. 

A casino night will cap off Saturday's events, before a handful of workshops on Sunday. 

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil will meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Saturday afternoon after a luncheon at the provincial party's annual general meeting. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

with files from Stephanie vanKampen

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