“The prime minister wants to hear from them on how they are feeling at the start of 2017, what their concerns and anxieties are, and what we can do to help alleviate that,” spokesperson Cameron Ahmed told the Star last week.
But the road trip — which continues on to Quebec, Prairies, and B.C. — has taken on partisan overtones as Liberal MPs hosting Trudeau at some of his Ontario stopovers are using their websites to glean personal data of those who want to attend.
Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen, who is hosting Trudeau’s Thursday town hall event in Kingston, promoted the event on Twitter and Facebook. “The prime minister wants to hear from you about issues that matter to you and our community as we enter the new year,” Gerretsen wrote.
Liberal MPs Peter Fragiskatos (London North Centre), Neil Ellis (Bay of Quinte), Maryam Monsef (Peterborough-Kawartha), Kate Young (London West), are all doing the same for Trudeau’s two-day swing through Ontario.
“We’re hoping to get a lot of people out,” he said. “If there’s somebody in the community who wants to say something to the prime minister, this is their opportunity to do it.”
“I’m encouraging anybody who is interested to let us know by registering and come on out,” Gerretsen said.
“I think there are a lot of questions about who is paying for it, what are they doing with the information,” she said in an interview.
“What’s he planning via the Liberal website is not a Tim Horton’s, town hall coffee shop event. I think that’s clear,” Bergen said.
Instead, she said it appears these events are “Liberal partisan event where they’re getting data and information and building up their own brand.”
On Friday, Trudeau starts his day north of Cobourg, heads to Peterborough for an event with Maryam Monsef, then to Burlington for a session with cabinet newcomer Karina Gould and wraps up in London, with a town hall.