Trudeau reaches out to youth and seniors with stops in Kamloops

By Dylana Milobar
January 10, 2019 - 4:09pm Updated: January 10, 2019 - 5:27pm

KAMLOOPS — After answering many questions at a town hall in Kamloops last night (Jan. 9), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a pair of stops in the Tournament Capital today to wrap up the first leg of his town hall tour.

First meeting with Trades and Technology students at Thompson Rivers University, the Prime Minister then spoke with community members on the other side of the age spectrum at the Kamloops Centre for Seniors Information.

This morning, Trudeau got a first-hand look at the $13 million investment the federal government made in TRU's new Trades and Technology building, and spoke with students in the program.

"With investments like the one we made here at TRU, our goal is to ensure that the next generation of trades men and women have the tools, training and knowledge to build a better Canada for all Canadians," Trudeau told those gathered at the university today.

Assistant Professor with Political Science at TRU, Dr. Robert Hanlon, says Trudeau making time for youth is no coincidence. The last election saw a higher number of young voters casting ballots.

"Youth voters are very savvy these days, they're on social media. Trudeau is a very engaged speaker, he's on social media, he understands how to speak to youth, so I think that's going to be an increasing force in this election and he's on top of it."

Describing how youth have a chance to become more informed on current events through social media and online news outlets, Hanlon says about 80 per cent of the crowd who attended the town hall were younger people. 

"Social media is a great way that political party leaders can reach out to them, but again, there is a whole range of information out there that they have to navigate," he explains. "These days, its probably the principle method that youth are getting their political news and consuming it, and it's going to be an increasingly important tool for candidates leading up to the next election."

At the town hall last night, Trudeau also heard from many frustrated members of local First Nations around reconciliation, land titles, and pipelines.

When asked on his thoughts about that relationship today, he acknowledged those concerns and says they're working on improving the partnerships between the federal government and Indigenous communities.

"But we know that progress has not been even across the country. There are areas that are doing better, there are areas that are facing more challenges, and as a government, we are looking to work in partnership, in respect with everyone."

After taking questions from the media and meeting students, the Prime Minister spent some time with the older voting demographic at the Kamloops Centre for Seniors Information. 

Brenda Prevost, the Executive Director of the KCSI says it was a unique experience to have Trudeau visit with their members and volunteers.

"It's something that you don't often get a chance to do throughout life. So it's a great event. We are very privileged that we could host it."

The Brocklehurst Shopping Centre was busy, with some community members particularly interested in speaking with Trudeau about the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Though a large quantity of people who attended last night were students or young people, the older voting demographic also appeared interested in what Justin Trudeau had to say today — something Dr. Hanlon was not surprised to hear.

"He is a celebrity politician you know, known around the world. And he brings a sense of buzz wherever he goes. Like him or not, he has energy."

After Kamloops, the Prime Minister is scheduled to appear in Regina tonight to continue his town hall tour ahead of the federal election.

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