Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, stands outside Ecuador’s London embassy in 2017. The extensive database covers many areas, including Penticton. (Frank Augstein - AP Photo)

South Okanagan sneaks into Wikileaks

Penticton a sour note in 1978 Trudeau tour

The only sour note on former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s 1978 B.C. tour happened in Penticton.

That’s according to a report filed by the American Consulate in Vancouver, reporting to then U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. The electronic telegram shows up in the Wikileaks database, one of a few documents relating to Penticton.

The “sole sour note” happened when the elder Trudeau told a student audience his greatest achievement was an improvement in the freedom of the individual Canadian, prompting a question why some students had been frisked by the RCMP before entering the auditorium.

“Trudeau responded he was ‘flabbergasted’ and, after a quick conference with Justice Minister Ron Basford, he said student frisking was not standard security practice and someone on force had been overzealous,” reads the report, which also noted the incident made Vancouver front-page headlines.

“RCMP later clarified that only student investigated had been the questioner who had been suspected (unfounded as it turned out) of planning to throw a pie at the PM.”

Current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated the visit two decades later and was greeted by an also (mostly) enthusiastic crowd. There were no pie-related threats, however.

READ MORE: Prime Minister Trudeau visits South Okanagan

The report goes into considerable detail about the tour, from the “official justification,” the opening of the Northern Winter Games in Prince George and the Vernon Winter Carnival to a less fun reason.

“Co-incidentally, Trudeau visited four ridings that will be closely contested when a federal election is called under the new electoral distribution boundaries in B.C.,” states the report, which adds Trudeau “drew substantial and hospitable crowds” in Prince George, Williams Lake, Vernon and Penticton, calling it “an area of B.C. where Tory leader Joe Clark made a generally lacklustre tour last June.”

The report goes into detail about the subject of Trudeau’s talks and how he addressed questions about the economy, as well as delivering a judgement.

“His presence undoubtedly will assist local fund-raising and spur party workers to greater efforts. it is too much to expect, however, that one short visit would substantially alter the prospects for a continuation of PC domination of B.C.’s parliamentary seats in Ottawa in the next election.”

Penticton also shows up, along with Kelowna, in messages that indicate the U.S. government was carefully watching the then-ongoing debate about Canadian cable systems replacing U.S advertising with Canadian.

Julian Assange may be cooling his heels in a British jail, awaiting an uncertain fate, but the organization he founded continues.


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Just Posted

Pair of Rockets added to NHL team’s prospect showcase

Kelowna’s Kyle Topping and Lief Mattson were added to the Carolina Hurricanes prospect roster

B.C. Culture Days hits Kelowna next month

The event will offer a variety of free activities in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country

Vernon man facing drug trafficking charges in Kelowna

The man was found with suspected cocaine, heroin and fentanyl and thousands of dollars in cash

Lawyers to hold pro bono ‘advice-a-thon’ in Kelowna’s City Park

Free legal advice will be given to low-income Kelowna residents from 10am-2pm on Sept. 10

Hell’s Angel prospect back in custody after being charged with assault

The 30-year-old man now faces several additional charges

Grass fire breaks out on highway south of Vernon

Highway 97 traffic slowed as firefighters snuff grass fire

Summerland relaunches net metering program

Event open house will be held Aug. 27 from 3 to 6 p.m in Arena Banquet Room

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Jaws of Life used to rescue driver in North Okanagan crash

Single-vehicle MVI causes traffic delays on Highway 6

Forests minister visits B.C. town hit by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Preliminary inquiry set for accused Penticton killer

John Brittain, 68, will be back in Penticton court from Jan. 27 to 31

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

Most Read