Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fielded questions ranging from pipelines to immigration policy from a mostly friendly crowd during his Town Hall meeting in Nova Scotia at the Dartmouth Sportsplex. Part of Trudeau’s cross-country tour, he drew a bumper turnout packing the 3,000-seat arena.
One highlight from the night included a question from retired lieutenant-general and former senator Roméo Dallaire, who asked about care for veterans.
Asked Dallaire: “Can you continue to amend and to bring forward programs that will be proactive in reducing the casualties amongst the serving members, amongst the humanitarians, the diplomats, and also the first responders who have to respond to some of these terrible catastrophes?”
Trudeau said every brave person who serves Canada is “owed the utmost duty of care from this country and it is something that we have started to rectify, but there is still much more to do.” The prime minister cited the reopening of veterans’ service centres as an example of how the federal government is making strides.
Retired sergeant Roland Lawless, who works with veterans, asked the prime minister about getting Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr to help with a walk-in clinic at the Camp Hill hospital in Halifax. Trudeau promised he would bring the matter directly to Hehr.
When asked about how he came into politics, the prime minister briefly touched on the contract negotiations between the Nova Scotia government and public school teachers, though he was careful to sidestep the issue.
A large crowd of teachers gathered outside of the town hall. They have been on a work-to-rule job action, only doing the minimum amount of work required by their contract until their union can reach a new deal with the province.
“There’s a few teachers in the room, I know you’re here tonight,” said Trudeau, a former teacher, before adding: “It’s great to be amongst my peeps (people), but I’m a federal politician so I’m not going any further into that.”