Trudeau kept things quiet leading up to his Okanagan tour and did not make himself available to speak with local media.
The first stop on his agenda was a visit to a children’s day camp in Lake Country, where he spent some time interacting with the kids, making crafts with them and playing outside.
The second stop of the day for Canada’s leader was in Kelowna at the BC Tree Fruits packing house, where he was given a tour of the packing and storage facility to see the ins and outs of the operation.
B.C.’s tree fruit industry employs over 2,500 people and added $201 million to BC’s GDP in 2019.
“We talked a lot about just cherries in general, technology and how that’s making its way into agriculture,” said BC Tree Fruits vice-president of sales and marketing, Peter Aardema.
“We talked a lot about our export market and a lot of the work he’s done overseas and how it benefits us as we continue to grow that and our domestic market and how we’re working with that.”
Trudeau also took time to pose for a few selfies with the employees at the packing house, and before he left, he made sure to stop inside the BC Tree Fruits store to purchase some ripe B.C. cherries.
“He did happen to mention that he does not intend to have those cherries last very long,” said cashier Ashley Weese.
Each venue of the tour had visible security presence both on the ground, and up above. Last week Trudeau had to cancel one of his visits in the Ottawa area due to protesters, but in Kelowna, only one showed up.
“I’m a free citizen in hopefully a free country, standing on the sidewalk expressing my views,” said Rick Reeves.
“Freedom is never free. You have to fight for it.”
After his stop in Kelowna, Trudeau visited the family-run Lutz Orchards in Summerland. He learnt more about the effects of last year’s heat dome on local fruit crops and about cherries grown in the South Okanagan.
“It’s great that the Prime Minister and the federal government might have small family farms in mind that’s what we are,” said Derek Lutz, owner of Lutz Orchards.
After the tour, Trudeau got a lesson from Lutz on how to pick cherries. However, Trudeau isn’t sure if he has a future in cherry-picking.
“I quite like my day job and I’m going to keep doing it for many more years,” said Trudeau.
The family orchard was the final stop for the Prime Minister in the Okanagan.