Trudeau visits Durham College Whitby campus for town hall-style budget event

Published April 7, 2023 at 7:38 am

Photo courtesy Durham College

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Durham College’s Whitby campus April 5 as part of his budget 2023 tour.

The leader of Canada’s federal government joined Whitby MP Ryan Turnbull for an intimate town hall event with more than 100 students, as well as youth from local high schools.

Durhan College President Don Lovisa was on hand to welcome the special guests and commend them for their support of post-secondary education, particularly the 2023 federal budget’s investment in applied research.

“The federal government has always been supportive of colleges. This government, in particular, is very important to us because they are driving the economy, and all of you here today are so important to this economy.”

After encouraging the students to ask hard questions, Lovisa ceded the floor to Trudeau, who held court on a variety of subjects.

“This is pretty much my favourite thing as prime minister; getting to talk and listen directly to Canadians who are interested and engaged,” he said.

The students made the most of the rare opportunity to speak to a sitting prime minister, asking incisive questions that more than once gave the Prime Minister pause. Food waste, climate change, mental health and supporting international students were just some of the important topics and issues that were addressed.

In discussing the labour shortage that Canada is currently facing, Trudeau recognized the college for its work in turning out job-ready graduates.

“There still are a lot of challenges in connecting people with those jobs, and that’s where a place like Durham College does such a great job of looking at where those gaps are. The placement rates are something Durham College is very proud of because responding to the actual needs in the market and giving people tools for that is a key part of it.”

The PM also touched on some more personal subjects. He shared memories of his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and offered advice to the assembled students on how to make the most of their time in college, and life in general.

“Showing up and being present as life is unfolding around you is probably the biggest thing. It’s better to show up to class and listen and take a few notes. That’s worth about eight hours of studying from reading the textbook.”

After speaking to the students for well over an hour, the Prime Minister greeted many of them in person.

“I often tell people our world is in very good hands when you meet a DC student, and their questions today proved that to me.”

Watch the Town Hall online.

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