Economy could dominate prime minister's Saskatoon visit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will take questions from Saskatchewan residents at a town hall meeting in Saskatoon today.

Wednesday event part of Justin Trudeau's cross-country town hall tour

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a recent town hall. He will visit Saskatoon to take questions at a similar event on Wednesday. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The economy is likely to be central in the minds of Saskatoon residents attending a town hall meeting Wednesday with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, says a University of Saskatchewan professor.

"I think the economy is, certainly, a key source of anxiety in Saskatchewan right now, and so it certainly is something that will be raised tomorrow night," said Daniel Beland, a Canada Research Chair with the Johnson Shoyama School of Public Policy.
Beland says the economy, environment and First Nations issues will likely figure prominently in Trudeau's visit to Saskatchewan. (Victoria Dinh/CBC)

Beland added that First Nations issues and the environment may also figure prominently, but the economic downturn dominates most conversations.

Trudeau will lead a discussion at the Dubé Theatre at the U of S. 

The visit is part of a wider tour in which the prime minister is holding town halls in Canadian communities.

A statement released by Regina-Wascana Liberal MP Ralph Goodale said it will be an opportunity for Trudeau to engage with Canadians in their home communities.

Liberal influence small in Sask.: Beland

Beland said Saskatchewan is the least fertile ground in the country for Liberals, with Goodale as the party's lone MP for the province. Beland said that low representation, combined with the relatively small provincial population, means influence here might be less than in other regions.

On a few issues, Beland said reaction to Trudeau will likely be mixed. On the environment and carbon pricing issues, some may side with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. Others will argue the federal government should take an even more proactive role on the file.

The same applies to First Nations and Métis issues, he said. Some will note progress on the missing and murdered Indigenous women inquiry, while others will point to the lack of progress on education funding and other files.

Doors for the town hall open at 6:30 p.m. CST.

Tickets are available online but the government said having a ticket does not guarantee a spot inside the venue. Instead, there is an advanced sign in at 6 p.m.

The Dubé Theatre is located on 107 Wiggins Rd. in the Health Sciences E wing, room 1150.