Premier Danielle Smith serves pancakes to party faithful at Calgary Stampede event

As Calgary Stampede ramps up, the Alberta Premier is in town for her annual Stampede breakfast at the McDougall Centre on Monday. Margot Rubin reports.

As is tradition for many politicians, Premier Danielle Smith hosted a pancake breakfast in Calgary’s downtown to celebrate Stampede festivities Monday, but not everyone has the Biggest Outdoor Show on Earth on their summer itinerary.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office confirmed he won’t be attending this year’s festivities, prompting many to speculate why, considering it has always been a well-known opportunity for political figures to share their message, and maybe sway some voters.

Mount Royal University professor Keith Brownsey says Trudeau, and federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh decided to skip this year, because they likely already know what’s going to happen during the next federal election.

“There will be four to six opposition — well, Liberals or New Democrats elected, on the other hand, the rest will all be Conservatives. People have started to wake up and say, ‘Why are we going to spend any money going out to the Calgary Stampede?'” he said.

Brownsey explains the decision was expected, and is actually surprised it wasn’t announced sooner.

“Would you, if you were the current Liberal leader, want to come to a place where Pierre Poilievre dominates? Where Danielle Smith is the premier? You want to stay away from that,” he said.

While Brownsey believes it would be a waste of time and money for Trudeau come out to Cow-town, he says it could also indicate a lack of confidence in his re-election campaign for the 2025 vote.

The premier’s office says over 3,600 people showed up to the McDougall Centre for the premier’s breakfast.

Smith said during the event Trudeau’s absence may simply come down to scheduling, as he is currently at the NATO Summit in Washington.

Smith’s event comes one day after the province’s NDP held its pancake party, during which new leader Naheed Nenshi beat the 2023 party attendance record.

This is the first time outside of pandemic years that the prime minister hasn’t made the trip out west to flip flapjacks for the electorate in Alberta.

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