Prime minister visits Edmonton temple ahead of infrastructure announcements

May 16, 2018 08:45 AM

EDMONTON- Wearing a head scarf and suit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an appearance at Gurdwara Millwoods in southeast Edmonton Monday.

 Hundreds packed the temple to witness the brief event with Trudeau, who did not make any public statements. He gave a food bank donation, was presented with a kirpan — a ceremonial dagger worn by Sikhs — and served food to attendees.

The visit comes while closed-door talks on the Trans Mountain pipeline between Kinder Morgan and the federal and provincial governments continue.

 Be among smiling faces'

 It's not lost on John Soroski, assistant professor of political science at MacEwan University, that Trudeau keeps coming back to Mill Woods.

It's the riding of federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, who won the seat by 92 votes in the 2015 federal election, after a judicial recount.

 "The Liberals have very few ridings in Alberta as it is," Soroski said. "The government's handling of pipeline issues implies they're probably not likely to increase that. So you really want to try to hang on to whatever you've got."

 It's a chance for Trudeau to be in the spotlight for things other than the pipeline, like his "close connection with the Sikh community," he explained.

 "That's an opportunity for him to be in Alberta, to have smiling faces around instead of people angrily asking questions about the federal government's support or non-support of the pipeline," Soroski said.

 "It's a good start to your visit if you can be among smiling faces because you'll be among less smiling faces later on."

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