EDITORIAL – A sad day when our prime minister chooses who can talk to him

Trudeau pauses for a few selfies after town hall meeting in Kamloops in 2019. (Image: Mel Rothenburger file photo)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

IF JUSTIN TRUDEAU comes to Kamloops for a town hall meeting, would we even know about it?

Probably not or, at least, chances are we wouldn’t be invited. When once his town hall meetings were open to the public at large, his post-pandemic versions are invitation-only affairs hosted by business organizations, unions, universities, firefighters and so on.

According to a Canadian Press report, many who are invited to one of his town halls aren’t even told who will be speaking — only that it will be a “high-ranking government official.”

This is a strange situation, the prime minister of our country going from community to community being a surprise speaker. He still opens the floor to questions, but the people who come to question him have to belong to a particular group.

If you were here in 2019, you might remember the Trudeau town hall in the Thompson Rivers University gymnasium. It was well publicized; anybody could attend. The place was packed, and Trudeau was at his best.

There were questions about the economy, his disastrous trip to India, immigration and Donald Trump. And, as I wrote at the time, there were the inevitable anti-pipeline protesters who wandered about the gym shouting at him.

They weren’t there to get answers, only to disrupt. Trudeau deftly handled them, courteously and respectfully. Instead of trying to yell louder than his detractors, he simply, calmly, responded.

Indeed, Trudeau is always at his very best in such situations. He thrives on them.
So what’s up with this new way of doing town halls? Well, the PMO says it’s got to do with security concerns.

Or, is it really about a change in the political environment, about the anger that pervades everything we do? Or, about his personal unpopularity?

Either way, it’s a sad day when our prime minister feels he must pick and choose who he talks to and who’s allowed to talk to him.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He has served as mayor of Kamloops, school board chair and TNRD director, and is a retired newspaper editor. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9634 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – A sad day when our prime minister chooses who can talk to him

  1. Robert George // April 22, 2023 at 10:04 PM // Reply

    Soon to be our ex prime minister.

  2. Frank Stewart // April 18, 2023 at 6:31 AM // Reply

    Very Sad, typical of a WEF student puppet. ;

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