Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves to people from the sidewalk in front of Liberal candidate Michael Den Tandt's office.
BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — "I'll see your two Bills and raise you one Justin," might have been the wager in a political Poker match of coincidental campaign office openings on Wednesday, September 4 in Owen Sound. At approximately 3 pm, Prime Minister Trudeau attended the official opening of Liberal candidate Michael Den Tandt's downtown campaign office on 8th Street East. An hour or so later, former MPP Bill Murdoch and current MPP Bill Walker lent their celebrity status to Conservative candidate Alex Ruff's campaign office event at Heritage Place mall on the city's east side.
Crowds waited patiently for the Prime Minister's arrival, spilling out into the street as protesters lined the opposite sidewalk with their placards touting anti-abortion, local homelessness and indigenous rights messages. When the PM's car finally pulled up, he stepped out like a rock star, shaking hands and posing for selfies as he slowly made his way to what will be Den Tandt's home base for the next six-to-seven weeks. Inside, he delivered a short speech to Liberal supporters and media guests even though the writ for this Fall's election has not officially dropped yet.
Michael Den Tandt does his best 'Robin' impersonation to Trudeau's 'Batman' as this 'dynamic duo' waded through the crowd.
"The Prime Minister cares about our area and cares about the people who live here," said Den Tandt. "He is putting his money where his mouth is in terms of his own time at the beginning of the campaign to show his support," he added.
Among his personal issues, Den Tandt pledges to help workers in BGOS thrive. Citing better, safer and more equitable workplaces under the Liberal government, he indicated that jobs are a priority in his campaign message. Such was the theme of an earlier round-table discussion at Mudtown Station where Trudeau and Den Tandt singled out fast & reliable internet access for business owners and the Liberal government's investment in rural broadband as an important piece of their job-creation strategy.
Things were a little more subdued at Heritage Place mall, but no less enthusiastic, where Alex Ruff officially opened the doors to his own local headquarters. Flanked by the two most recent Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound (BGOS) members of Ontario provincial parliament, he outlined the course his campaign would take over the next several weeks. However, he was quick to point out that although his office has just officially opened, he has already been out in Bruce and Grey communities campaigning to become the next federal representative for this riding. "Ever since mid-July, I've been going super-hard," said Ruff who added that listening to the people, staying positive and working collaboratively with all levels of government have been his objectives.
MPP Bill Walker poses with BGOS candidate Alex Ruff outside the Conservative campaign office.
"I'm a firm believer that we need politicians that will represent the constituents," said Ruff who added that taking care of our seniors, veterans, and the economy as well as creating affordable housing and repealing the carbon tax are among his personal touchstones. When asked about the road ahead, he concluded, "I'm not afraid of hard work and I'm not afraid of a challenge."
The writ is expected to drop any day now but the federal government has until September 15 to make that announcement. The election will be held on October 21.
Green Party candidate Danielle Valiquette and NDP candidate Chris Stephen will join Den Tandt and Ruff in the contest to become the next BGOS federal MP.
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