Justin Trudeau set up to speak in Kelowna this weekend
Kelowna residents will get a chance to speak to the closest thing to a political "rockstar" this country has going this weekend.
"Justin Trudeau is honouring a commitment to come to Kelowna that he made in 2011 and will be speaking at several Okanagan events this Saturday," said Dr. Islam Mohamed, president, Kelowna–Lake Country Federal Liberal Association.
"He was going to come March 25 but it was the day of the non-confidence motion that defeated the government, so he was called back to Ottawa."
The government may have been toppled that day, but it wasn't much later that the Liberals, which were once referred to as the "natural governing party,” reached a crisis point. Reduced to only 19 per cent of the vote and 34 seats in the House of Commons, pundits forecasted their demise.
However, a pledge to rebuild was made, with Trudeau remaining a central character, if not the face, of that endeavour.
"We're very excited to have him here. The last time a Liberal represented Kelowna, it was when Trudeaumania swept the country," said Dr. Mohamed. "He's the closest thing to a rockstar in politics, he has a rich heritage and is accomplished in his own right."
Whether he can drum up the excitement his father did remains to be seen, but Dr. Mohamed said change is afoot in the party that should bring back some support.
"At the Liberal convention there was a real sense of renewal and engagement in changing the way we operated the past," he said, remarking that even policy meetings were attended by over 2,000 Liberal supporters — many of whom were first time members.
"We can't be successful and govern unless we change."
One of the key elements of that change is an initiative that will allow Liberal supporters, not card-carrying members, to vote on who they want to lead the party.
It's a unique measure that's intended to ensure the chosen leader doesn't just make sense to Ottawa's political elite, but also men and women in far-flung regions of the country.
"There's always been the perception that a few people in Montreal or Toronto called the shots," said Mohamed. "This puts the power to select the leader throughout the country and whoever is selected will have broad appeal across the country."
Trudeau will speak on the future of the party as well as many other issues this weekend. His first speaking engagment will be at a Council of Canadians meeting held Jan. 21 at Okanagan College's lecture theatre, starting at 1 p.m., and a party sponsored event at the Ramada from 3 to 4 p.m.
For more information on where he'll be go to http://kelownalakecountry.liberal.ca