Trudeau and cabinet will stay in dorm rooms during Sudbury retreat

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet are meeting in Sudbury, Ont., this weekend for a retreat to plan Parliament's fall session.

Prime minister chooses to stay in residence at Laurentian University

Justin Trudeau, pictured here in CBC Sudbury's former studio, will visit the city again this weekend, along with his cabinet. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet are meeting in Sudbury, Ont., this weekend for a retreat to plan Parliament's fall session.

Instead of checking into a hotel, the politicians will be staying at a Laurentian University student residence. 

"This retreat could've been in Ottawa, but they're going out in the community," Nickel Belt MP Marc Serre said.

"[Staying] in a university residence ... just shows that we're really working hard to represent all Canadians of all walks of life."

Trudeau's decision to sleep in a dorm is a deliberate political move, according to York University associate professor of political science, Dennis Pilon.

'Gut-level decision' to stay in dorm

"This is a gut-level decision on the part of the leadership behind this prime minister, saying, 'hey we need to relate to people,'" he said.
Liberal cabinet members won't be staying in a hotel in Sudbury, they will be sleeping at a Laurentian University student residence. (Hilary Duff/CBC)

"One way we can do that is showing that we're not above having the same experience that their kids might have if they end up going to a place like Sudbury for their education."

Whatever the meaning, Laurentian's chief of staff Alex Freedman said Trudeau's visit recognizes the university's accomplishments, and it is creating a buzz amongst students. 

"It speaks a lot about the reputation of the university that they're attending," he said.

"I certainly would be proud to be at the university where the prime minister just spent some time."

Time should be spent wisely: prof

Both of Sudbury's ridings voted Liberal during last year's federal election.

But to keep voter support, Pilon said the party needs to tackle key issues this term, such as improving the economy and electoral reform

"They have to be very strategic about this because if they make the wrong choices it could really cut in to a crucial part of their support without necessarily getting them any new supporters," he said. 

Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre said he will be taking advantage of the visit by speaking with ministers about ways to further diversify Sudbury's economy and upgrade infrastructure.

"[This] gives us the opportunity to talk to them about the challenges that we have and talk about solutions to the issues that we have," he said.

"I'm not sure how often I will have that opportunity again, so for us it's truly an exciting time."

Lefebvre and Serre will host a barbecue for the community to meet Trudeau and his cabinet at 5:30 p.m. ET on Monday at Science North.


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