Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a media availability in Paris, France Monday November 12, 2018. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Trudeau to miss Games opening ceremonies

2019 Canada Winter Games kick off Feb. 15

Prime Minister to miss Games opening ceremonies

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not be in Red Deer for the opening ceremonies of the 2019 Canada Winter Games as hoped.

Scott Robinson, CEO for the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society, said organizers have received official notification Trudeau will not attend the Feb. 15th ceremony.

“The invitation was specific to the opening. That’s what they declined due to other conflicts and engagements. We’re not sure he’ll come out at other times. Right now, that’s all we know,” Robinson said Tuesday.

He said over the years, several prime ministers have opened the games, but it’s not a guarantee.

Trudeau attended the opening of the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg. Former prime minister Stephen Harper did not go to Prince George, B.C., to open the 2015 Canada Winter Games.

“You start out with an invitation and hope that everyone can attend, but we understand there’s conflicting schedules.”

The invitation remains open, he said.

“We certainly will be encouraging the prime minister to come at some point. Whether he can, who knows? It’s up to them.”

Sport Minister Kirsty Duncan and Gov.-Gen. Julie Payette will be at the opening ceremonies.

“It’s still going to be a big show. We’re just excited about getting it going and sharing a little bit of Red Deer with the rest of Canada,” said Robinson.

The last leg of the MNP Canada Games Torch Relay starts at 4 p.m. Feb. 15 at Hunting Hills High School before proceeding to the Enmax Centrium, where the two-hour opening ceremonies begin at 6:30 p.m.

Robinson said tickets for the opening are going fast.

A jumbo screen will also be set up at Hunting Hills for the public to watch the opening ceremonies.

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