Kerry Smith is the Liberal candidate for Portage-Lisgar MP and launched the opening of her campaign with a visit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Her Saskatchewan Avenue East office was opened for campaign volunteers whom Trudeau greeted and encouraged to make a difference in the long-time Conservative riding. Smith was there with her son, Brady Smith, to welcome the Prime Minister and chat with her supporters.
"Thank you, Kerry, for stepping up. Thank you, Brady, for being part of it because, as I know only too well, politics is a family business and there's no question about it," says Trudeau. "But mostly, thank you to all of you. I mean, I know that by-elections are tough to get people even noticing that they're happening but you getting out there, knocking on doors, making phone calls, talking to people about the kind of positive choice that they can actually make, and that's really, really important. I know there are lots of challenges here in Portage, but making sure that we're showing up is the biggest part of it."
Portage has been a site of much political attention following former MP Candice Bergen's departure from the political arena. Former Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer was here to support Branden Leslie's campaign, and People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier was also in town to run for the Portage-Lisgar seat, himself.
"The right wing is going to be fighting over itself in terms of who can be more extreme on the right, and that's not what Canadians want anywhere across the country, not even here in Portage," adds Trudeau. "People want real solutions. They want a government that going to stay focused on that. They want to be able to send a strong voice to Ottawa and that's why we need Kerry on our team."
Kerry Smith says she's pushing the word to go door-to-door to gain encouragement from local members in Portage and see them happy to know their candidate is moving forward in our area with some real momentum.
She notes she spoke on Golden West Broadcasting radio about why it's important to run.
"I did mention all of the normal things about the programs and how it's so important to build that middle class, " adds Smith. "That's how we really move Canadians forward, but I also talked about being a woman and how important it is to fight for our rights. We do not need people negotiating what abortion might look like for us. We have that right to make decisions for our own bodies. It's a little frightening. We have two men that are negotiating that on our behalf. This is so important in a by-election. We don't normally see enough voters coming out, but in this particular by-election, we have an opportunity to make change if we just come out to the polls. It's as easy as that. Just come to the polls and cast your both for me."
Brady Smith was glad to be with his mother for her launch, and says it was awesome to be part of it and meet the Prime Minister.
"It's so much excitement and it's overwhelming," says Brady. "It's just something that my mom deserves. She's worked hard for all that and I'm happy to see it finally pay off."
Smith adds just hearing the Prime Minister say his name out loud was quite an experience.
"He's really a country leader. You can't meet anyone more popular in Canada than him," adds Smith.
Ten-year-old Aurelia and seven-year-old Anwen were helping out at the office preparing and counting campaign pamphlets. The Prime Minister popped into the room to greet the girls.
"He said we were doing a good job, and that he wouldn't distract anymore because I lost count on where I was," says Aurelia.
She notes it was alright to be distracted by the Prime Minister of Canada and she "maybe" will remember this for the rest of her life.
Aurelia describes what it's like being involved in a political campaign.
"It's a lot of numbers," says Aurelia.
When asked if it was a lot like school, she said, "No. We're not doing textbooks."
Aurelia's sister, Anwen, says it was great to meet the Prime Minister.
"He said, 'You're doing a great job.' We were sorting these (pamphlets) into piles of 50."