By Jason Herring, January 24 2017 —
While thousands lined up for a town hall with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the University of Calgary on Jan. 24, an anti-Trudeau rally took place just outside.
About 50 people gathered outside of the Olympic Oval to voice their displeasure with Trudeau and his government. The protest — called the Justin Tru-No rally — was organized by The Rebel Media, an online conservative news and commentary outlet.
Bow Valley College student Regina Shariv was among the protesters. She originally considered attending the town hall, but decided to protest at the Tru-No event instead.
“I realized that I do not feel that my voice will be be heard adequately, so I thought it would be more productive for me [to inform] my fellow citizens going who may not know some of the things that Justin Trudeau has done,” Shariv said.
Like many at the rally, Shariv is most concerned with carbon taxation and the Liberal government’s environmental policies.
“His implemented taxation schemes are not welcome, are not appreciated and will not be tolerated,” Shariv said. “I find he’s all over the place, especially with the environmental aspects. He doesn’t have solid ideas that are consistent.”
Fourth-year U of C English student Mico Migliarese attended the rally after class but didn’t protest. He said that while he opposes Trudeau, he was mainly interested in seeing how Calgarians would react to the Prime Minister’s visit.
“I don’t like him. I’d say I’d oppose him, but I wouldn’t say I’m protesting,” Migliarese said. “I’m sure people will be talking a lot about the oil sands and his plans to phase out the oil sands. I’m sure he’ll get a lot of grief about that.”
Protesters held signs with slogans like “Deport Trudeau” and “Calgary Stands Up For Albertans.” A number of attendees also wore Make America Great Again hats. Shariv was holding a sign that said “Not My Prime Minister,” referencing a phrase used by opponents of newly inaugurated U.S. president Donald Trump.
“Trump stands less for his policies and more for the aspect of questioning the status quo, which is the parallel here,” Shariv said. “Many people here agree with things he says, as do I, but the parallel in Canada is being free-thinking and free from government.”
Chants of “lock him up” and “Trump” also erupted sporadically throughout the rally.
Fourth-year U of C civil engineering student Alex Potvin attended the Trudeau town hall. He said that while he doesn’t agree with everything Trudeau does and is interested in seeing how Calgarians respond to his visit, he thinks any politician would inspire similar protests.
“There’s always going to be people who don’t agree with stuff. Regardless of whether he was Harper, [Trudeau] or Mulcair, there’d be people protesting,” Potvin said.