Thunder Bay·Audio

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau gives rally speech to Thunder Bay, Ont., supporters

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau addressed supporters in Thunder Bay, Ont., Wednesday evening, marking the first visit by a leader of a federal party to northwestern Ontario during the election campaign.

Trudeau the 1st to visit region by a federal party leader during campaign

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau addressed a reported crowd of about 800 in Thunder Bay, Ont., Wednesday evening. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau addressed a crowd of supporters in Thunder Bay, Ont., Wednesday evening, marking the first visit by a leader of a federal party to northwestern Ontario during the federal election campaign.

Trudeau attended a campaign rally at The Outpost — the campus pub at Lakehead University — for the Liberal Party and its two candidates in the Thunder Bay-area ridings: Patty Hajdu in Thunder Bay–Superior North and Marcus Powlowski in Thunder Bay–Rainy River.

Trudeau did not take questions from reporters at the Thunder Bay event. Instead, he made a 13-minute stump speech touting his government's record over the past four years and reiterating announced campaign promises, while frequently taking aim at Conservative leader Andrew Scheer by referring to the Ontario Progressive Conservative government under Doug Ford and Steven Harper's federal Conservatives.

"Four years ago, you put your trust in a new team and a new plan," he said to chants of "four more years" from the audience.

The Liberal leader was also in Port Coquitlam, B.C. on Wednesday where he announced a promised home retrofit program that would provide interest-free loans for green-friendly renovations, such as upgrading old furnaces, replacing leaky windows and bettering insulation.

About 800 people were admitted to the rally in Thunder Bay, organizers said. One person was kicked out for holding up an anti-Trudeau poster, according to the party.

Trudeau's speech contained a few local references and was similar to those in other campaign stops: in Thunder Bay, he spoke of cuts to the "Lakehead and Thunder Bay school boards," under the Ford government and referenced a report released in July by the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions — a division of CUPE — that said under current provincial projections, Thunder Bay will be short just over 80 hospital beds and about 500 staff by 2024.

In touting his government's cut of the small business tax rate, Trudeau referenced Thunder Bay's Sweet North Bakery and locally-sourced ingredients.

"This means that when you buy from the Sweet North Bakery, you're helping a number of other small businesses in the region," he said.

Trudeau's speech also made several references to what the Liberal government has done, and what he promised it will do, for Indigenous communities. He promised to "make high quality healthcare a reality for all Indigenous people," by co-developing legislation and addressing "critical infrastructure needs" by 2030, including improving things like housing, roads, internet and schools.

He also said Ottawa is on track to end all boil water advisories in First Nations by 2021.

As of Sept. 3, Indigenous Services Canada said there are 56 long-term advisories still in place, 87 have been lifted since November 2015.

Trudeau, who was on the ground for nearly four hours in Thunder Bay, left the city after the event to overnight in Sudbury.

With files from Kathleen Harris


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