Trudeau meets students and staff during Cape Breton University visit

·2 min read
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took selfies with well-wishers at Cape Breton University in Sydney, N.S., on Thursday. More than 400 people showed up along with a dozen protesters. (Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took selfies with well-wishers at Cape Breton University in Sydney, N.S., on Thursday. More than 400 people showed up along with a dozen protesters. (Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit)

After making a clean energy announcement near Halifax on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Cape Breton University in Sydney, N.S., for a couple of photo opps.

He did not make any announcements or take questions from the media, but spent time at the university's daycare centre speaking with parents and children and then waded into a crowd of more than 400 staff, students and Liberal supporters at a barbecue.

About a dozen protesters waved flags and signs and shouted questions at the prime minister, but he ignored them, shaking hands and taking selfies.

Claude Poirier travelled more than 200 kilometres from Cheticamp to see Trudeau.

"We see him often on TV showing up everywhere and it's not very often he comes to Cape Breton," Poirier said. "Really, really nice to see him."

Kima Hazelwood stood off to the side, speaking with friends, as a swarm of people surrounded the PM.

Hazelwood did not get a selfie with Trudeau, but wished she had.

"Absolutely. Too much of a crowd though," she laughed.

Tom Ayers/CBC
Tom Ayers/CBC

Hazelwood said it was good to get a visit from the government leader.

"I think it's important to see him here and at least be talking to people and their concerns," she said.

Darlene LeBlanc was one of about a dozen protesters carrying flags and signs with the group Freedom Nova Scotia.

The group heard Trudeau would be at the university to talk about his $10-a-day daycare program and she wanted to ask one question, in light of the high inflation that is making life difficult for people.

"With all the high prices in fuel, with carbon taxes constantly being added, how are these families going to afford to take their children to these child-care centres?" LeBlanc said.

"We want to know if he's going to get rid of that carbon tax so Canadian families can survive, because right now they're struggling to get food on the table."

Peaceful protesters

George Karaphillis, the retiring dean of the university's Shannon School of Business, said the crowd's reaction was warm and the protesters were peaceful.

"This is a law and order country and they have the right to protest, so they're not bothering anybody right now, from what I can see," he said. "Nothing like what I see in other places."

The visit, although fairly brief and lacking in announcements, was important for the island, said Karaphillis.

"He's the top decision maker for the country and we're a small community, but he made time to come to Cape Breton and visit and chat with people here."

After his stop at the university, Trudeau went to Potlotek to attend the Mi'kmaw Summer Games and meet with First Nation chiefs.

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