Calgary Stampede draws federal politicians from all sides

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The Calgary Stampede attracts federal politicians from all sides

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre was attending a partisan event in Calgary for the Stampede.

Federal Liberals and Conservatives flock to Alberta for the Calgary Stampede, 10 days of festivities that have become an opportunity for politicians to woo voters.

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau will spend the day Sunday in the Alberta metropolis. In addition to a public visit to the Stampede Park where rides and food stands are piled up, the Liberal leader will participate in a fundraising event for the party.

The Conservatives have them organized a barbecue on Saturday evening attended by both the candidates for the leadership of the United Conservative Party in Alberta as well as those in the federal race.

The Interim Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC), Candice Bergen, assured the 1,100 people present that unity does not mean uniformity.

It's okay to be a conservative and have different opinions from another conservative. We are in the middle of a leadership race and I am neither naive nor blind, she said. Discussions heat up during this race and with good reason. […] I am sure we will emerge united and strong after September 10 when the new leader is announced.

Candidate Jean Charest (left) chats with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at a barbecue.

With the exception of Scott Aitchison, the other four CCP leadership candidates all spoke out in hopes of rallying support.

I have my values ​​of work, independence and freedom. I was raised with those values, but we don't see a lot of freedoms in this country lately. People feel like they are losing control of their lives, launched Pierre Poilievre to loud applause.

His competitor Jean Charest instead argued that the party should reverse the trend after losing a majority in the last three elections. The choice before you is who can win a national Conservative government with a Canadian agenda, he said.

The Calgary Stampede has become a magnet for politicians according to Lori Williams, professor of political science at Mount Royal University. [The event] gets enough media attention and enough people from outside of Calgary that it's become a magnet, she says.

After a cancellation in 2020 and a limited event in 2021, the Stampede hopes to return to strong attendance this year. In addition to the fair in the park, the whole city comes alive with pancake breakfasts, barbecues and company parties.

Former Conservative MP Joan Crockatt recognizes that high traffic allows politicians to meet a lot of people in a short time, which makes political exercise very efficient.

It's also a much more fun way to do politics than door-to-door, she said.

The 10 days of festivities attract over a million people every year.

With information from La Presse canadienne

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