Trudeau tells donors he'll keep 2019 campaign positive
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a Liberal fundraising event at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario, on Wednesday Dec., 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, December 19, 2018 10:26PM EST
KINGSTON, Ont. -- Speaking to a small crowd of well-dressed Liberal donors, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke out against division and polarization even as a larger crowd of angry protesters was kept far away from the posh event.
Trudeau was the main attraction for the Liberal fundraiser in Kingston, Ont., Wednesday evening, where an intimate crowd of several dozen people paid up to $400 to hear from their leader and queue up for a photo.
The prime minister told them he plans to run on a platform of positivity in the October 2019 election, despite what he described as the growing popularity of using division and fear for political gain.
"Any time there is a challenge or a conflict, it's easy for someone to stand up and say, 'It's their fault because they live on the wrong side of the river or the other side of the border or are of a different background or speak a different language,," he said.
"That could potentially be a way to short-term political gain, but it's not a path towards being able to solve our challenges, it's not a path toward being able to govern responsibly."
Meanwhile, down several winding corridors of the St. Lawrence College venue, a crowd that outnumbered the Liberal ticket-holders shouted chants of protest against the government. Some were upset over the government legislating striking Canada Post workers back to work, while others voiced their concern over Canada signing the United Nations migration pact. Still others were counter-rallying in support of immigration.
They were not allowed anywhere near the prime minister, however, as he arrived via a back entryway.
Before Trudeau's arrival, the fire alarm in the building went off twice, but fundraiser guests simply went on sipping their wine and beer and continued their conversations.
They delivered polite applause as Trudeau listed his government's recent accomplishments: signing a new free-trade agreement with the United States and Mexico; ratifying the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP); restoring rail service to Churchill, Man.; and legalizing cannabis.
He asked attendees to continue to donate and volunteer to ensure his team gets another four years in government.
"Everything we do reminds us that there's always more to do," he said.
The riding of Kingston and the Islands, where the fundraiser was held, has long been considered a Liberal stronghold, having been held by the party since 1988.
Earlier in the evening, Trudeau stopped in Napanee, Ont., in the federal riding of Hastings--Lennox and Addington.
The prime minister delivered remarks at the nomination of Mike Bossio, the Liberal MP whose win in 2015 by just 225 votes against Conservative incumbent Daryl Kramp was considered an upset a coup for the Liberals.
Trudeau shared a similar message at the Napanee event, telling the crowd he would not partake in the politics of division.