PM Trudeau to attend Ottawa WE Day event

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Nov 11, 2015 in Rat News | Subscribe

In one of his first public speeches since being elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau told about 16,000 students at Canadian Tire Centre they aren’t just the leaders of the future, but the leaders of today.

He and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau took the stage for about 10 minutes near the end of the We Day Ottawa celebration Tuesday afternoon. They received a deafening applause from the school children after being introduced by We Day co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger.

“We’re in a world right now where it’s so easy to feel like one person can’t make much of a difference,” Trudeau said. “But that’s not true. We Day is about showing you that ‘we’ is powerful, that ‘me’ as part of ‘we’ is powerful and that together we can — and will — change the world.”

The Trudeaus were a last-minute addition to the star-studded lineup that included rapper Kardinal Offishall, singer/songwriter Shawn Hook, Juno award-winning artists JRDN and Simple Plan and TV personalities such as Much host Liz Trinnear, Degrassi’s Aislinn Paul.

Trudeau challenged the elementary and high school students to remain positive influences in the weeks and years to come, not just on We Day.

“What you do, what you say, the choices you make, how you reach out to your classmates, to your friends, your family … how you shape the community you grow up in, that’s the leadership you’re showing right now,” he said.

“The big challenge is showing you that each and everyone of us is powerful. You don’t have to wait until one of you in this room – and I know that at least one of you is out there – becomes prime minister to make a difference.”

His wife, Sophie — who called her husband and prime minister, “hubby” in her opening address — spoke on a more personal level about the challenges she faced growing up.

“As a teenager myself I suffered with eating disorders and today we’re here to really share stories that can inspire us,” she said. “So many people who have gone through adversity and have come out of adversity with so much strength, courage and humility.”

Before leaving the stage, Kardinal Offishall began chanting, “Trudeau! Trudeau!”

The prime minister was quick to change that to a “Canada! Canada!” chant, and the crowd caught on quickly.

In order to attend the day full of performances and motivational speeches, students had to participate in the We Schools program helping local and global charities.


Before the We Day events even began there were conga lines and chants.

When Craig and Marc Kielburger, co-founders of Free the Children and the youth empowerment initiative, hit the stage, that energy only amplified.

Henry Winkler, best known for his role as the Fonz in Happy Days, encouraged students to find their gift and “give it to the world.”

U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman spoke about how after meeting President Barack Obama, he no longer wanted to be a bystander, but an “upstander”.

This was the fourth We Day for Paralympian and philanthropist Rick Hansen who shared his message about how important it is to break down barriers.

Craig Kielburger boasted about how far volunteerism in the country has come since Free the Children began.

“When we started it 20 years ago, youth were the least likely to volunteer in our country, and today they’re the most likely to volunteer,” he said.

École Secondaire Catholique Garneau’s Isabella Orozco-Madison is one of those volunteers and was a special guest for the event.

The 17-year-old leads her school’s Free the Children club and has helped in both local and global initiatives such as benefitting food shelters and women in Kenya.

She said it was the story of Emmanuel Jal, a former child solider in Sudan, that inspired her.

“How is this possible and I never know about it?” she said. “Teachers used to tell me we have such a great world, but it’s always important to be exposed to the negativity and see what’s going on.”

Ottawa was the fifth city for the We Day tour.


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