July 17th, 2024

Trudeau missing Calgary Stampede this summer, his only absence outside COVID-19 years

By The Canadian Press on July 2, 2024.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's summer campaign circuit will not include a stop at the Calgary Stampede. Trudeau attends a Stampede pancake breakfast in Calgary, Saturday, July 8, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s summer campaign circuit will not include a stop at the Calgary Stampede.

The annual 10-day rodeo and festival is usually a must-do event for politicians and Trudeau hasn’t missed a summer except for the COVID-19 years of 2020 and 2021.

But his office confirms there will be no pancake flipping, cowboy-hat tipping or crowd-hopping for the prime minister this year.

There was no immediate explanation provided for his absence.

The Stampede officially begins Friday with a parade and runs until July 14.

Trudeau’s office signalled he wasn’t going to attend in 2017, but after a gaffe – when he accidentally forgot to include Alberta in a list of provinces during his Canada Day speech – he showed up at the Stampede two weeks later.

Trudeau is currently dealing with the fallout from the stunning Liberal loss of a long-held Toronto seat in a byelection on June 24.

His party’s slump in the polls has lasted more than a year and his MPs are up in arms about how to stage a comeback before the next election.

He and his party have never been particularly popular in Alberta but he has been greeted mostly warmly at the Stampede in past years.

Last year, crowds jockeyed for selfies as he made his way through the Stampede grounds.

He also flipped pancakes at a breakfast hosted by Calgary MP George Chahal, one of two Liberals elected in Alberta. Chahal is hosting a pancake breakfast again this year but Trudeau won’t be there.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2024.

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