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Justin Trudeau’s Calgary Stampede tour continued Saturday as the prime minister donned a cowboy hat, blue jeans and a big belt buckle to mix with attendees at two pancake breakfasts in the city’s northeast.
The breakfasts, hosted by the local Ismaili Muslim community and Calgary Liberal MP George Chahal, followed Trudeau’s Friday appearance at the Stampede midway and meeting with Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, where the two leaders addressed the media and discussed energy and economic issues.
After wading through a throng of supporters at the Ismaili breakfast, Trudeau promoted his government’s child care and economic relief policies while speaking to the crowd.
“These are things that we know are not a choice between economic growth and helping people. It’s that you create economic growth by helping people,” Trudeau said before taking his turn tossing pancakes at the griddle.
The Stampede has long been a requisite event for politicians of all stripes, with party leaders flocking to Calgary for photo opportunities and chances to mingle with crowds during the annual 10-day event.
Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is also in his hometown of Calgary for the Stampede, riding in Friday’s parade with his wife Ana, but he’s yet to make any other public appearances, flipping flapjacks or otherwise.
Both leaders have also met with their party’s candidates in the July 24 Calgary-Heritage byelection while in town.
Ismaili breakfast celebrates community’s half-century in Canada
Calgary’s Ismaili Muslims host a large-scale Stampede breakfast that draws about 5,000 people each year, but Saturday’s event also marked an extra special milestone for the community.
It’s been 50 years since Ismailis first emigrated to Canada in large numbers, seeking asylum from the Idi Amin dictatorship in Uganda.
The community’s local Stampede breakfast — whose menu includes the usual pancakes and eggs as well as bharazi, a pigeon pea and coconut curry — strikes a balance between Ismaili culture and the western celebration which met newcomers to the city, said volunteer Alisha Kanji.
“When our parents and grandparents came, Stampede was definitely a new experience, so here we are coming full circle today, giving back to a community that was there for us when we first arrived,” Kanji said.
“Calgary’s becoming such a multicultural city. We have immigrants coming from Afghanistan and Ukraine, all of which now have the chance to participate in the Stampede and add their own little take to it.”
Torontonian Qasim Janmohamed attended the breakfast with his family dressed in western wear. It marked his first time at the Stampede, where he was eager to see Trudeau and celebrate with his community.
“I’m here to spend time with my family and enjoy the Stampede week, and I’m loving every moment,” Janmohamed said.
Also at the Saturday breakfast was Smith, who commended the Ismaili community for their generosity in hosting the event and welcoming newcomers to Calgary.
“Just as your community has crossed the world to find safety, others are doing the same thing, and when they get off the plane, you’re ready to help,” Smith said.
“Alberta must be a place where newcomers can come to find a place of belonging and barriers to their success are removed.”
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