Pancakes and politicians take over Calgary parking lots during Stampede’s first weekend

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The first Calgary Stampede weekend is underway with political pancake breakfasts popping up all over the city.

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Big names from the federal, provincial and municipal political landscape have descended on Alberta’s largest city to shake hands, chat and chat with their supporters at the biggest outdoor spectacle on Earth.

Federal Official Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole attended a pancake breakfast in northeast Calgary hosted by Makami College. He spent nearly an hour flipping pancakes to the applause, taking photos with supporters and handing out meals to the nearly 100 people in attendance. He was due to attend the Stampede Grounds later Saturday.

The O’Toole’s Stampede decision is part of a move in Western Canada following a visit by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau days earlier, which fueled speculation about a possible federal election in the near future. Trudeau denied these rumors, but continued to make funding announcements in Alberta and British Columbia

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In response, O’Toole handed an olive branch to supporters in western Canada, promising he would work on reforming the federal fiscal stabilization program. This program has been a long-standing problem with the United Conservative Party in power in Alberta. Speaking in Calgary on Saturday, he continued to speak out against Trudeau’s record when it comes to Alberta and the rest of western Canada.

“There is a national unity crisis, especially here in Alberta. We have to resolve this crisis of unity and that is by bringing the provinces together, by making the federal government support the economies, support the provinces, not against them, ”said O’Toole.

He said now is not the time to hold an election as much of the country continues to have health restrictions.

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“I can’t even do that in my own province yet. We are eating crepes. We shake hands. We’re not even at this stage of reopening in Ontario, you still can’t go to Atlantic Canada, ”said O’Toole, who wasn’t the only politician in the crowd as he was joined by the Calgary Forest Lawn MP Jasraj Singh. Hallan.

A number of municipal hopefuls were also on hand to promote their campaigns.

Provincially, Premier Jason Kenney will host his own pancake breakfast Monday morning at Harley Hotchkiss Gardens. He made an appearance on the grounds of the Stampede on Friday as a participant in the opening day parade. Kenney also attended a United Conservative Party Caucus Pancake Breakfast on Saturday morning.

Premier Jason Kenney was pictured during the Calgary Stampede Parade on Stampede Grounds on Friday July 9, 2021. Azin Ghaffari / Postmedia
Premier Jason Kenney was pictured during the Calgary Stampede Parade on Stampede Grounds on Friday July 9, 2021. Azin Ghaffari / Postmedia Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Azin Ghaffari / Postmedia

The opposition NPD party chose not to host a pancake breakfast and instead chose to host a series of rallies in Calgary’s parks where physical distancing is easier to observe. The party’s “road show” began Thursday at Prairie Winds Park and will see MPs in various green spaces throughout the week.

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Opposition Leader Rachel Notley, who has previously questioned the timing of the province’s reopening plan and how it was aligned so close to the start of the Stampede, said events around town are one way to meet Calgarians in their own neighborhoods in a safe manner. She said her party did not politicize the event.

“I think it’s really more about engaging in a way that allows us to be comfortable and to keep people safe and to keep them comfortable and so the more you can control. your own environment, the easier it is, ”Notley said.

Political appearances at the Stampede aren’t new, but political scientist Duane Bratt said this year it was especially important given the politicization of COVID-19 and Alberta’s plan to reopen.

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He said he believed Trudeau’s appearance in Calgary was deliberately timed to be close to the Stampede, but not during the event. Bratt also noted that while O’Toole is in town, he doesn’t spend as much time at the rodeo and fairground as most federal Conservative politicians typically would in previous years.

“What would it look like in the rest of the country, the Prime Minister on the Stampede grounds with the crowd and all that other stuff and if we got a fourth wave coming out of the Stampede, you know, what would it look like?” Prime Minister? “asked Bratt.” O’Toole, I think he’s in a similar boat because, yes, he was here this morning, you know, making a pancake breakfast, but he don’t spend a lot of time here either. ”

Bratt called this year’s event a “political stampede,” saying the time has come for federal and provincial politicians to raise funds and municipal hopes to meet with voters ahead of the fall election.

“It’s hard to get, to get mad at a politician when he hands you a pancake,” Bratt said. “And it gives you, it gives you a little point of conversation until the next person is in line.”

– With files from the Canadian Press

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