Trudeau cancels gig at BC event after protesters slammed racist remarks

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SURREY, BC — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was forced to cancel plans to attend a fundraising dinner Tuesday night after two speakers at the event said protesters threw racist remarks at the mostly South Asian attendees entering a convention center in Surrey, BC

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Trudeau did not enter the building and addressed a crowd for about three minutes via Zoom instead of giving a speech in person.

He said no one should be intimidated or stopped from exercising their democratic freedoms “because that’s what this country is all about”.

Trudeau said he would return in the future to see his supporters in Surrey, and an event organizer told attendees to feel free to stay and enjoy dinner.

Defense Minister Anita Anand addressed the crowd, but a Liberal Party employee asked a reporter to leave the room.

The party said in a statement to The Canadian Press that everyone who participates “should feel safe and respected in our democracy”.

About four dozen protesters used expletives as they chanted and honked at Trudeau outside the convention center.

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“We don’t like the way he runs Canada,” one man said as another spoke through a megaphone.

About half a dozen RCMP officers stood by and watched the crowd.

Earlier this month, police launched an investigation after a video circulating on social media showed people hurling swear words at NDP leader Jagmeet Singh during a protest in Peterborough, Ontario.

The federal NDP leader had stopped by the campaign office for an Ontario NDP candidate running in the provincial elections.

A video shows Singh encountering protesters as he left the campaign office, and can be heard shouting out at him and calling him a “traitor” as he gets into a vehicle.

Singh later told reporters that he found the experience “intense, threatening (and) insulting,” but is more concerned about what it means for politics in general.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 24, 2022.

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