Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was invited by The Tragically Hip to attend the final stop of the iconic Canadian band’s Man Machine Poem tour.
The band’s management offered Trudeau four tickets, the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed to Global News Tuesday. The other three tickets went to local MP Mark Gerretsen, Trudeau’s principal secretary Gerry Butts and chief of staff Katie Telford.
Two other Trudeau support staff were at the arena but did not have formal tickets.
READ MORE: Honouring the Tragically Hip’s best music
Each seat cost $133.75 and Trudeau and co. paid for them out of pocket — no taxpayer money was in the mix.
Canadians from coast-to-coast (and beyond) tuned in Saturday night to watch The Hip’s performance from their hometown of Kingston, Ont.
While the band has not called this their farewell tour, many saw it as the band’s official adieu to Canada, as frontman Gord Downie, 52, battles terminal brain cancer.
Trudeau met with the band the night of the show, later tweeting they’d be “Forever in our hearts and playlists.”
Downie, who is a married father of four has glioblastoma. Experts treating him say it’s an incurable cancer that is among the most common and most aggressive brain tumours.
Trudeau was called out by the band during the concert, with Downie thanking the prime minister for his work to champion the rights of Canada’s indigenous people.
“We’re in good hands, folks. Real good hands. He cares about the people way up North, that we were trained our whole lives to ignore. Trained our entire lives to hear not a word of what’s going on up there. What’s going on up there ain’t, ain’t good,” Downie said.
READ MORE: Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations thank Gord Downie for ‘powerful words’ at concert
While Downie’s words were of praise, they also posed a challenge of sorts to the prime minister on a very public stage.
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“It’s maybe even worse than it’s ever been. So it’s not on the improve but we’re going to get it fixed, but we got the guy to do it, to start, to help.”
On Monday, as the Liberal cabinet members wrapped up a retreat, Trudeau said he was honoured by Downie’s words, and pledged to continue to strengthen relations with Canada’s indigenous people.
“The relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples is so important, and the trust that we need to have in each other so essential to our shared success, that we must continue to make this relationship a priority moving forward,” Trudeau said.
READ MORE: Study says 60% of First Nation children on reserve live in poverty
“Our government will not rest until we make life better for indigenous people.”