She may not be a card-carrying Liberal, but when the prime minister of Canada sweeps by your table at the local craft brewery for a quick chat and a selfie, Betty Head says it’s fun to get caught up in the moment.
“I do have my doubts about Justin Trudeau, but it was all very exciting,” said the Barrie woman, who had a front-row seat on the Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery patio when the Liberal leader swept through the city Tuesday afternoon.
“He’s got a Tom Cruise thing happening,” she added with a chuckle.
Head and her sister, Shanon Head, heard word about the early campaign stop in Barrie and made sure to secure a seat and a pint for the event at the downtown pub.
Shanon said her heart is with the NDP, but she does seem to have some sympathies for the Liberals.
It doesn’t hurt when its leader swings by gripping a can of Juicy Ass IPA beer to lighten up the mood with the chant of a handful of protestors on the sidewalk being drowned out by a cadre of sign-carrying Tanya Saari supporters, the Liberal candidate for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte.
For Trudeau, it was simply a photo opportunity. He met briefly with Liberal members inside the bar, allowing media only to crowd around for pictures as he went in and out of the Dunlop Street establishment.
He also made no statements during his brief swing through Barrie.
Just the same, said Barrie-Innisfil Liberal candidate Lisa-Marie Wilson, having the leader show up at the start of a short campaign is bound to give it a boost.
“Our prime minister came here because he wanted to show his support for us candidates and for where Barrie is going in the future,” Wilson said. “It was a very small venue. It was meant to be that way.”
Although, Trudeau's visit did attract those who clearly were not his supporters.
Harvey Pye carried campaign signs through the core for local Conservatives MPs Doug Shipley and John Brassard, placing several alongside the patio at The Queen’s across the street, facing Flying Monkeys.
And a man who identified himself only as 'Tom' carried an anti-Trudeau sign. He said he drove up from Hamilton in protest.
But back on the patio, Martina and Michael Paton were thrilled with the event, which surprised them.
“My daughter volunteers for the Liberal Party and she would have been really excited to be here today,” said Martina.
“It makes it more personal,” Michael said of the visit.The federal election is set for Sept. 20.