Breaking up in any relationship is never easy according to all the songs out there. As was the case in the 10th town hall that Mr.Trudeau, the Prime Minister held on Jan. 16 at the University of Winnipeg.
The Prime Minister had a falling out with a few Indigenous people at the town hall and it was highly publicized in the media.
I was one of the many curious who lined up to get into the town hall meeting and was able to attend it.
The line up was blocks long and it took a couple of hours to even get into the area where it was being held.
Once you got close to the front of the doorway, one had to go through a simple search by security. Unzip your jacket and a quick examination of any bags you might have had on you.
I was surprised to see no signs or banners were being allowed into the event. People who were carrying protest signs had them removed and put aside by security.
The town hall was packed with all groups of people. Different culture groups and ages. A mixed bag of people wanting to see the Prime Minister.
I was seated in the general section in the upper level and the VIP’s and invited guests were in the bottom section. They had entered through a different entrance and may not have been searched by security.
I saw there were a few Indigenous people attending the town hall, but not as many as I expected. The mood felt different in the room.
The Prime Minister was elected with the help of Indigenous voters in the recent federal election. Had that positive energy with indigenous community disappeared?
Mr. Trudeau finally arrived and the town hall began with a opening prayer from an Elder. Trudeau then began taking questions from the floor.
I noticed the PM was avoiding taking questions from Indigenous people who had their hands up. Another sign there was trouble between the PM and his Indigenous voters.
He asked a young non-native man what his question was. The young man asked Mr. Trudeau about pipelines. That was when the town hall got interesting.
Protest signs began to appear, behind the Prime Minister and around him from the bottom section of where the VIP and invited guests were sitting.
I want to clarify a point many media made about the people holding signs. They are not protesters, but water protectors. The word protesters paints a negative picture of the people holding the signs.
There was a brief discussion between the water protectors and the Prime Minster. It seemed Mr. Trudeau lost his composure and asked them to leave. He actually raised his voice to them.
Of course the women holding the signs didn’t leave. That was when I decided I will leave the town hall. I couldn’t take any more of this facade any longer.
People in the town hall, and even Mr.Trudeau, were telling the water protectors to respect the reason the town hall was being held. In my opinion, any resemblance of respect was lost once the PM asked the water protectors to leave.
A man raising his voice to a woman. A man of privilege trying to silence an Indigenous woman. A man who I once respected and admired.
I left the town hall meeting before it ended. I am sure a few indigenous people finally got to asked their questions, but I wasn’t there to see it.
From what I saw in the town meeting, the once promising relationship between the government and the Indigenous community was falling apart or was already broken.
Broken promises, money and false hopes are the key words to a great break up song. Pipelines being built, no money for the suicide crisis in native communities and false promises of reconciliation. I heard and saw that at the town hall.
“Breaking up is never easy, I know but I have to go…” ABBA