Hastings-Lennox Addington MP Mike Bossio had some notable star power in his corner Wednesday as he declared he would be seeking re-election in 2019, calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help with the announcement.
The Liberal MP was joined by Trudeau as they entered a crowded Lafarge Banquet Hall at Napanee’s Strathcona Paper Centre.
“Mike has been a tireless representative, not just for you here, not just for rural Ontario, but for all rural Canadians,” said Trudeau of Bossio. “His leadership as part of our rural caucus from the very beginning, his voice as we got together to talk about big issues, whether it’s fighting for better access to broadband in our community, standing up for supply management unequivocally every step of the way, making sure that we’re protecting our dairy farms.
“Whether it’s making sure that we’re moving forward on affordability to keep our young people in our communities across the country so they don’t have to go to the city to find a job, they can build a strong future right here, where our land is so beautiful.”
Trudeau said Bossio has also campaigned on the issues while staying positive.
“He’s been part of a team that’s been positive about politics,” said Trudeau. “We know there are reasons to be worried or anxious or uncertain about the way the world is going. Our roles in it as individuals as families, as communities and even as a country. When you’re faced with a certain amount of fear and anxiety, as a leader, Mike knows well you have to make a choice. Do you play up those fears and anxieties? Do you exacerbate the differences and do you point fingers and lay blame, and say it’s their fault, we have to go after them? No. You said ‘you know what, let’s do what Canadians have always done. We’ll roll up our sleeves, we’re going to work together to solve these challenges.’ That’s exactly what we’re doing.”
Bossio said it was Trudeau’s leadership that led him to put his name forward in the 2015 election.
“I was compelled by three things when I decided to run,” Bossio told the audience. “How do we build a sustainable society? How do we build sustainable rural communities and how do we correct the wrongs of certain people towards Indigenous people?…Mr. Prime Minister, it was your words of social justice, of unity, of being able to grow the economy and protect the environment at the same time, renewing our sacred responsibilities to our veterans and a new nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples. That’s what energized us and pulled us forward. I still feel the same way today.”
Bossio gave a brief overview of his platform.
“We as a team, we as Canadians are hopeful and hardworking,” said Bossio. “We did not give into the politics of fear and division. The politics of cut, cut, cut. We recognize we can not grow through cutting. We can only grow through strategic investments in our community and investments in our companies. Our plan for that is working. We’ve got the highest growth rate last year in the G7. Our debt to GDP continues to fall. We have the lowest debt to GDP in the G7. The G7 is envious of us here in Canada.”
“Canadians created over 800,000 jobs since the elections,” added Bossio. “We now have the lowest unemployment rate in over 45 years. But we’re not done. We have so much more work to do.”
Trudeau’s visit marked his second official visit to town as serving prime minister, a place he says stood out for him while on the 2015 campaign trail.
“I’m remembering one of those extraordinary moments in what ended up being a pretty amazing campaign in 2015, when we all gathered here in Napanee at that Tim Hortons” Trudeau recalled. “That was one of those moments where I said ‘OK, we’re going to Napanee, I hope somebody shows up.’ Not only was the Tim Hortons overflowing, but the parking lots were overflowing. There was hundreds of people there and I saw a number of the journalists who were covering the campaign go ‘Is this really happening in Napanee?’. It was just amazing. That was one of those moments when we saw the tide change right across the country.”
Not everyone who attended Wednesday’s event showed support of the prime minister however. Outside the arena a handful of peaceful protestors gathered, some Canada Post workers from CUPW Local Napanee 570 with signs declaring collective bargaining as a charter right, others with signs objecting to the UN migration pact.
The next federal election will take place Oct. 21, 2019.