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Federal party leaders cultivate Hamilton on Labor Day

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Trudeau, Singh march in the annual parade; Scheer at Ticats game

Hamilton was approached by the three federal party leaders on Labor Day as they prepared for national elections scheduled for this fall.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh both marched at the annual Labor Day Parade on Monday, while Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer attended the Labor Day Classic soccer game for a while at Tim Hortons Field.

With elections so close (scheduled for 21 October, but not yet officially named) the presence of such leading applicants shows the importance of four Hamilton elections – two of which are currently Liberals and two are NDP.

Trudeau will begin the march with Senior Minister Filomena Tassi, the Liberal MP for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, and the North American International Trade Union (LIUNA) who invited him to participate.

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But they were blocked by a small group of protesters led by Marxists and anarchists shouting slogans and obscenities at the prime minister.

10 to 20 protesters opposed all the recent leaders, shouting, “Harper, Trudeau, Scheer. Same, different years.”

They forcefully stood in the path of supporters of LIUNA, and after a standoff of about 45 minutes, Trudeau seemed to leave the parade. But he joined the guild group again about one block later.

The protesters again met Trudeau at Bayfront Park where the parade ended and he continued to greet people. The protesters forcefully followed him until he left.

Before that, Trudeau was warmly received during a walkabout on Stuart Street before the parade – although some people held placards showing various complaints against him.

Many in the crowd were mostly union workers and their children – as well as spectators along the parade route – happy that the prime minister stopped to shake hands and take pictures with them.

A number of narcissistic and group photos were taken with Trudeau, and at least one person asked for and got his autograph.

Anthony Primerano, with LIUNA, said while everyone has the right to protest, he believes Labor Day is the wrong day to do so because “this is a day to celebrate the attainment of labor in this country.

“Amazing, PM is here.”

At a labor picnic at Bayfront Park after the parade, the federal candidate for the Hamilton NDP Center, Matthew Green, said in an interview that “Justin Trudeau is not a coworker,” remembering notes about cutting steelworker pensions.

Previously, the NDP leader Singh was warmly welcomed when he spoke to the crowd in the park.

He talked about a number of problems that were ignored or failed by Liberals and vowed to fix them.

Both Singh and Trudeau were clearly in election mode.

Tassi said that she was pleased the PM chose to come to Hamilton on the day of labor celebrations “and the hard work of men and women across the country was involved.”

“My guess is that he has invitations from all over the country and he chose to come to Hamilton. That is really special for Hamilton people …”

Earlier, The Spectator received e-mails from Hamilton and District Labor Council president Anthony Marco to regional labor leaders saying that “this is a public road,” they cannot stop the PM from participating in the parade, but “there is no possible way” He will be allowed to talk at the picnic afterward.

After the march, Janet Create, with Unifor Local 707 representing Ford workers, said this was the first year of the seven marches he marched in that there was a problem with protesters.

He was pleased to see Trudeau, saying: “It’s nice to see him taking part in matters relating to the working class.”

Anarchist Woody Boychuk, however, said he felt the protest was “a great success” because “we can drive the leader out. There are many broken promises that he has yet to fulfill.”

But on the road, residents of Hamilton, Paula Greenly and his niece, Cody Greenly, who visited from Halifax, excitedly talked about Trudeau’s presence.

“Why did he come to Hamilton?” said Cody. “I was surprised to see him here. I just never thought he would go down to the Labor Day Parade. That was quite extraordinary.”

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Her aunt Paula is not happy with the protesters.

“Sometimes, he (Trudeau) does not do good for Canadians, but it is still inappropriate for protesters to swear like that, especially when there are children around.

“Some people might not appreciate him here, but that’s their opinion. It doesn’t belong to everyone.”

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