Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, stands outside Ecuador’s London embassy in 2017. The extensive database covers many areas, including Penticton. (Frank Augstein - AP Photo)

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, stands outside Ecuador’s London embassy in 2017. The extensive database covers many areas, including Penticton. (Frank Augstein - AP Photo)

South Okanagan sneaks into Wikileaks

Penticton a sour note in 1978 Trudeau tour

The only sour note on former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s 1978 B.C. tour happened in Penticton.

That’s according to a report filed by the American Consulate in Vancouver, reporting to then U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. The electronic telegram shows up in the Wikileaks database, one of a few documents relating to Penticton.

The “sole sour note” happened when the elder Trudeau told a student audience his greatest achievement was an improvement in the freedom of the individual Canadian, prompting a question why some students had been frisked by the RCMP before entering the auditorium.

“Trudeau responded he was ‘flabbergasted’ and, after a quick conference with Justice Minister Ron Basford, he said student frisking was not standard security practice and someone on force had been overzealous,” reads the report, which also noted the incident made Vancouver front-page headlines.

“RCMP later clarified that only student investigated had been the questioner who had been suspected (unfounded as it turned out) of planning to throw a pie at the PM.”

Current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated the visit two decades later and was greeted by an also (mostly) enthusiastic crowd. There were no pie-related threats, however.

READ MORE: Prime Minister Trudeau visits South Okanagan

The report goes into considerable detail about the tour, from the “official justification,” the opening of the Northern Winter Games in Prince George and the Vernon Winter Carnival to a less fun reason.

“Co-incidentally, Trudeau visited four ridings that will be closely contested when a federal election is called under the new electoral distribution boundaries in B.C.,” states the report, which adds Trudeau “drew substantial and hospitable crowds” in Prince George, Williams Lake, Vernon and Penticton, calling it “an area of B.C. where Tory leader Joe Clark made a generally lacklustre tour last June.”

The report goes into detail about the subject of Trudeau’s talks and how he addressed questions about the economy, as well as delivering a judgement.

“His presence undoubtedly will assist local fund-raising and spur party workers to greater efforts. it is too much to expect, however, that one short visit would substantially alter the prospects for a continuation of PC domination of B.C.’s parliamentary seats in Ottawa in the next election.”

Penticton also shows up, along with Kelowna, in messages that indicate the U.S. government was carefully watching the then-ongoing debate about Canadian cable systems replacing U.S advertising with Canadian.

Julian Assange may be cooling his heels in a British jail, awaiting an uncertain fate, but the organization he founded continues.


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Just Posted

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Jane Long-Haggerty, a chartered accountant with a member of the Salvation Army Food Bank, hold up a cheque for $740. Long-Haggerty decided to cut her fees in half and ask her clients to donate whatever they felt they could to the food bank. The idea landed her a room full of food and $740 to the Salvation Army Food Bank. (Submitted)
Penticton accounting firm gives big return to food bank

Long-Haggerty said this year’s tax season showed how bad the pandemic has impacted everyone

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

The manager and a worker at the Penticton Great Canadian Oil Exchange in front of the new sea-can. (Submitted)
Kelowna and Penticton oil recycling facilities get upgrades

The BC Used Oil Management Association provided grant funding for the upgrades

The SS Sicamous was decked out in poppies on Remembrance Day and lights at Christmas time. The Sicamous won’t be able to open again because of COVID restrictions. (Monique Tamminga - File photo)
The SS Sicamous was decked out in poppies on Remembrance Day and lights at Christmas time. The Sicamous won’t be able to open again because of COVID restrictions. (Monique Tamminga - File photo)
Penticton’s historic paddlewheeler likely won’t open for a second year

The SS Sicamous Society is getting lots of restoration work done during the closure

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The Maritime Kitchen Party is featured in the B-Side, the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre’s online series, May 13-16. (VDPAC photo)
B-Side keeps Okanagan musicians in Focus

Performing Arts Centre online concerts continue

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

The. B.C. Court of Appeal granted a retrial to former Vernon man William Schneider, convicted of second-degree murder in the 2016 death of Japanese exchange student Natsumi Kogawa. The trial is set to begin May 24, 2022. (Vancouver Police Department photo)
Retrial date set for former Okanagan man’s murder conviction

William Schneider’s trial, connected to the death of Natsumi Kogawa, is set for May 2022

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Most Read