There were selfies a-plenty as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greeted the crowds at B.C. Day festivities in Penticton’s Gyro Park. Steve Kidd/Western News

Prime Minister Trudeau visits South Okanagan

No politics, just bigger-than-ever B.C. Day party in Penticton

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived at Penticton’s B.C. Day festivities to find Gyro Park packed with thousands wanting a chance to shake his hand, take a selfie with him or even just to see him.

Among the crowd was Connie Denesiuk, who has put her name forward to become the federal Liberal Party’s candidate for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding.

“It is very exciting. I have been looking forward to the day that our prime minister comes to Penticton. It is perfect, the weather is perfect, the crowd is pumped and I am so excited,” said Denesiuk.

There were a few that came to protest, but Trudeau shifted the discussion of political issues, like the Trans Mountain pipeline debate or Sunday’s news that Saudi Arabia is expelling Canada’s ambassador and freezing new trade deals, to the back burner to talk about coming together and enjoying the day.

“This isn’t a political speech, this is a moment for us to gather together and really remember that all the views, all the different perspectives out there come together in one deep conviction, that we are one people,” said Trudeau.

It’s a point that his wife, Sophie Gregoire, also made when she spoke to the crowd.

“This political journey we are on, it is a human journey, and it is the story of every single family in Canada. It is not easy for so many families across this country,” said Gregoire. “I am raising three kids … my only wish for them and for all of you is that we live without not only seeing the differences between ourselves but not feeling them. Coming together is going to make this country the best country, ever, and we count on you for that.”

Trudeau has been touring B.C. for the past few days, and reportedly made a stop Sunday at Granny’s Fruit Stand in Summerland, where he bought local nectarines and berry syrup.


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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