Liberal leader campaigns in Sudbury to keep riding red

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau meets supporters at University of Sudbury Tuesday

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau made a quick campaign stop in Sudbury on Tuesday, as he looked to shore up support with some of the party faithful at an event at the University of Sudbury.

The event was largely kept off the radar and not announced until late in the day. Security was high after some recent protests at events in Bolton and Cambridge.

Trudeau spoke on the terrace about unity and coming together as a country. He was joined by Sudbury candidate Viviane Lapointe, Nickel Belt candidate Marc Serre and cabinet minister Melanie Joly.

"It's really a pleasure to be back in Sudbury," said Joly.

It's not coincidence that she joined him at the event. Joly held the Official Languages file and the University of Sudbury's wish to become a Francophone institution has become a large part of the party's platform.

"We know that what happened at Laurentian University is completely unacceptable. It is a Conservative mess that won't be fixed by Erin O'Toole. We know that students lost classes, people lost jobs and we need to fix it," she said.

Trudeau took the stage but was forced to contend with a large group of protesters using megaphones, some holding anti-vaxxer signs, shouting expletives at the politician.

"Let's be very clear, yes it's a choice that you make to get vaccinated, but it's not just a choice for you. It's a choice to protect your community," he said. "So the folks shouting, the anti-vaxxers, they're wrong... entitled to their opinions. They are putting at risk our kids as well."

"Canadians have made incredible sacrifices over the past year and a half. Erin O'Toole is siding with them, instead of Canadians who did their part and stepped up. He's talking a bout personal choice. What about my choice to keep my kids safe? Our choice to make sure we're getting through this pandemic as quickly as we can," Trudeau added.

Trudeau talked about the choice Canadians have to make when it comes to things like daycare, transfer payments and the threat of privatized healthcare. His speech was a quick one and after that it was back to the airport, but not before the campaign bus had to once again drive past the protesters.

The Liberal leader is looking to keep the seat of Sudbury red. The riding itself has voted Liberal almost every time since it was created, except for three times that it voted New Democrat. With incumbent Paul Lefebvre now stepping down, there are some who feel the riding is now up for grabs.

The welcome Trudeau got in Sudbury was a similar one that NDP leader Jagmeet Singh received after campaigning at the University of Sudbury campus over the weekend.