MONTREAL – Liberal leader Justin Trudeau defended a large indoor rally held in Brampton, Ont., on Wednesday, saying his party followed public health guidelines.
Hundreds of people surrounded the stage at Tuesday evening’s event, where he was introduced by former prime minister Jean Chrétien, 87.
At the end of the event, supporters surrounded Trudeau, while organizers asked people to stand with tapes on the ground.
Liberal staff said there were about 400 people in attendance and the gathering met local COVID-19 regulations, limiting indoor venues to half capacity.
On Wednesday, Trudeau was asked about the wisdom of holding such a large indoor event, which was also attended by 100-year-old former Mississauga, Ontario, Mayor Hazel McCallion.
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“First of all, no one tells Hazel McCallion or Jean Chrétien what to do or what not to do,” he told reporters in Halifax.
“I’m so glad they decided to join us for an event that followed all public health guidelines.”
Trudeau says it’s important to recognize that about 80 percent of eligible Canadians have been vaccinated.
“And that means, for those people, it’s more and more likely to be able to go back to doing the things we love.”
Chrétien and Trudeau both gave separate speeches on a stage in the middle of the Brampton Convention Center ballroom, surrounded by an enthusiastic crowd criticizing other party leaders, and the Liberal Platform on Vaccines, the Environment and Child Care. was promoting. .
In his speech, Chrétien defended Trudeau’s decision to send Canadians to voting booths, saying election calls for minority governments after two years are “a tradition”.
He fervently criticized O’Toole and Bloc’s Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchett, and said Canadians needed a centrist government to address issues such as climate change and the challenges posed by China.
“This is not the time to go too far or too far, this is the time to be in the middle,” he said.
Later when asked if he felt comfortable in the middle of a large crowd, Chrétien admitted that he was not aware of the format ahead of time.
“I didn’t have a platform and so no, it wasn’t around that I was used to,” said Chrétien, who said he was vaccinated.
“But I’m glad I came. I’ve been around the track for a while, and getting back on track wasn’t too bad.”
McCallion said after the incident that the crowd was just one reason why the election should not have been called during a pandemic.
“Governments are saying, stay home, stay away from joining groups, and then there’s an election that brings people together in groups,” McCallion said.
Despite criticism of the election call, McCallion also conceded that minority governments “don’t work,” and said he expected Trudeau’s liberals to win a majority on September 20.