‘No place I would rather be now,’ PM says

By Trevor Terfloth
Local News - Saturday, July 30, 2005 @ 07:00

Timmins-James Bay Liberal nominee Robert Riopelle was overwhelmed by the sea of red he saw Friday afternoon.

However, he had a special guest to help buffer some of the attention.

More than 500 party members, dignitaries and fellow politicians filed onto the lawn at Cedar Meadows Resort to literally chew the fat with Prime Minister Paul Martin at a Liberal party rally and barbecue

“I’m really excited.
No doubt it gives us a renewed energy ... wind in the sails,” said Riopelle.

“Personally, I’m not accustomed to the limelight, but it’s part of the job and something I’ll have to get used to.”

Martin approached the podium to thunderous applause, even joking that he thought the ‘Rio’ emblazoned T-shirts referred to Rio de Janeiro.

In the morning, the prime minister had taken part in a town hall forum on Northern economic development. He said during that session he was representing the federal government, but onstage he proudly proclaimed he was a Liberal.

“Let me tell you — there is no place in the world I would rather be now than right here in Timmins,” said Martin.

He also expressed his unwavering support for Riopelle, who he said has the ability to help build Northern Ontario and the rest of Canada.

Afterwards, Martin, Riopelle and Minister of Agriculture Andy Mitchell slaved over a hot grill to feed the hungry masses.

There was also live entertainment from local musicians and Aboriginal dancers.