Tragically Hip's Gord Downie calls out to Trudeau during tour finale

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke briefly with the CBC’s Ron MacLean about the Tragically Hip on Saturday night, ahead of a shout-out by singer Gord Downie.

PM discusses why the band is uniquely Canadian

Justin Trudeau at Tragically Hip concert

7 years ago
Duration 1:56
Featured VideoThe prime minister talks about his love of the band during an interview with Ron MacLean

The Tragically Hip paid tribute to all of Canada as the band wrapped up their 15-stop tour in Kingston, Ont., with lead singer Gord Downie including a shout-out to the prime minister, who was in the audience.

The concert opened Saturday night with flag-waving fans singing O Canada. For other fans, there were viewing parties held at locations across the country.

Between songs, Downie acknowledged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He called on the prime minister to take action on behalf of Canada's Indigenous people, and then said he expected Trudeau would have plenty of time to do it.

Prime Minster Justin Trudeau wears a Tragically Hip T-shirt on his way to the concert venue. (Lars Hagberg/Canadian Press)

"He's going to be looking good for about at least 12 more years. I don't know if they let you go beyond that. But he'll do it," Downie told concert-goers.

Trudeau could be seen in the audience, nodding and mouthing "thank you."

He declined to address Downie's comments about him, but said, "It was an extraordinary opportunity for everyone in Kingston, but indeed across the country, to celebrate an iconic Canadian and an extraordinary band. It was a great and moving night and I was extremely privileged to be part of it."

Shortly before the show started, the prime minister's photographer posted an image on Twitter of Trudeau embracing Downie.

While he waited for the band to take the stage in the Rogers K-Rock Centre, Trudeau spoke briefly with the CBC's Ron MacLean, who is still in Rio for the Olympics, about The Tragically Hip.

Trudeau said he was wishing all week that he was in Rio for the Games, "but tonight I'm glad I'm in Kingston instead."

Trudeau said he had mixed feelings about the show, because it was both a chance to say goodbye and to celebrate Downie, who is battling terminal brain cancer.

Trudeau spoke about becoming a fan of the Hip in university and at one point wishing the band would make it big internationally, though now he's glad they've remained a Canadian staple, saying they are "an inevitable and essential part of what we are and who we are as a country."

Gord Downie urges Trudeau to work with First Nations

7 years ago
Duration 0:50
Featured Video'He's going to take us where we need to go,' says Hip frontman during Saturday's concert in Kingston

With files from The Canadian Press