Trudeau stumps in traditionally Conservative Alberta riding

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a rally in Medicine Hat hoping to build support for a Liberal byelection candidate running in a traditionally Conservative riding.

The event drew about 1,300 people to a downtown building Thursday night — so many that a crowd waited outside for a chance to meet Trudeau.

Inside, Trudeau was trying to drum up support for Liberal candidate Stan Sakamoto, a father of seven who runs a catering company. 

“He knows what it takes to create jobs because he’s done it,” Trudeau told the crowd. “He knows what it takes to create growth in Southern Alberta because he has lived here all his life and he sees what works and what doesn’t. Stan knows what Medicine Hat needs right now are good, well paying jobs.”

Traditionally Conservative riding

The byelection was called for Oct. 24 following the death of former Member of Parliament Jim Hillyer. Advanced polls open on Friday.

During his speech, Trudeau touted his party’s achievements for Alberta ranchers.

“Because of the work we did, ranchers here can now sell OTM beef to Mexico, bone-in beef to China and we got the Americans to back off on country of origin labelling.” 

But he didn’t mention a more controversial topic in Alberta: carbon pricing.

Glen Motz

Conservative candidate Glen Motz spent Thursday continuing his door knocking campaign, which is says reached thousands of voters. (CBC)

The Conservative candidate running in this byelection is Glen Motz, a former police inspector, who was out door knocking on Thursday.

“I’ve spent months on the doors, talking to thousands of people around the riding and we’re [heard] very positive comments and feedback from across the riding so we are very encouraged by what we’ve been hearing.”

Medicine Hat–Cardston–Warner has been considered one of the safest Conservative ridings in the country. 

In the last election Hillyer won 68.8 per cent of ballots cast, with the Liberals’ Glen Allen taking just 17.9 per cent. The area has only elected conservative leaning MPs since 1968.

Federal Byelection Trudeau 20161013

Protesters await Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s arrival in Medicine Hat. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Trudeau poked fun at the Liberal party’s history in southeast Alberta by reminding the audience of his father Pierre Trudeau’s visit to Medicine Hat when he was a boy.

“What’s important from that visit of my father’s in 1972 — from a historical perspective — that was the moment that we started the decades-long dominance of the Liberal Party of Canada in Southern Alberta.”

The crowd let out a cheer before Trudeau added: “No. That didn’t happen.”

Six candidates are running in the byelection.

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