Prime Minister Justin Trudeau smiles as he addresses a Liberal rally at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts, Windsor, September 16, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

‘We’re just getting started’ Trudeau rallies Windsor supporters

Canada’s Liberal leader came out Monday night with the hope of turning southwestern Ontario red in October.

Justin Trudeau capped a day of campaigning across the region with a loud, raucous rally at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts in Windsor. Trudeau is hoping to lead the Liberal Party of Canada to its second straight majority government.

Hundreds of people, the majority of them students and young people, crowded into one of the centre’s large ballrooms for an event designed to rally the Liberal troops across several southwestern Ontario ridings. Trudeau was, of course, the featured speaker.

The prime minister touted his government’s efforts to hammer out a new version of NAFTA with the United States and Mexico. Despite a little friction with U.S. President Donald Trump over trade and tariffs, Trudeau hailed the U.S. as a friend and Canada’s strongest trading partner. Looking ahead, Trudeau hoped to continue that work.

“My dear friends, under a Liberal government, Canada will keep building on our progress,” said Trudeau. “While we’ve done an awful lot over these past four years, we’re just getting started.”

Windsor-Essex, particularly the riding of Windsor West, is considered by many political commentators to be a key battleground in this campaign. Windsor West, currently represented by the NDP’s Brian Masse, is expected to be the centre of plenty of campaigning with Liberal Sandra Pupatello challenging him.

Also running in Windsor West is Conservative Henry Lau, Quinn Hunt of the Green Party, and Darryl Burrell of the People’s Party of Canada.

Not all attending the rally were happy to see Trudeau, however. A handful of protestors gathered outside the St. Clair Centre for the Arts as people filed inside for the rally. Mike Nemeth, of the Yellow Vests of Windsor-Essex County, told BlackburnNewsWindsor.com after the event that he felt Trudeau, along with his policies, were harmful and had to go.

“We’re not all his sheep and all his followers,” said Nemeth. “What he’s doing to this country is atrocious. Whether he gets in or not, the damage is so great, that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to be paying for it.”

In addition to Pupatello, Liberal candidates from other ridings either in attendance, or with supporters present, included Katie Omstead of Chatham-Kent-Leamington, Audrey Festeryga of Essex, Carmen Lemieux of Sarnia-Lambton, and Pam Armstrong of Elgin-Middlesex-London. The Windsor-Tecumseh riding has yet to choose a candidate, with Windsor City Councillor Irek Kusmierczyk, criminal lawyer Linda McCurdy and 2015 candidate Jeewen Gill in the mix.

The federal election is on October 21.