APTN National News
In an emotionally charged final concert in Kingston, Ont., Tragically Hip singer Gord Down paused the show to address the audience, the country, and specifically, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“We’re in good hands, folks, real good hands. He cares about the people way up North, that we were trained our entire lives to ignore, trained our entire lives to hear not a word of what’s going on up there,” said Downie. “And what’s going on up there ain’t good. It’s maybe worse than it’s ever been, so it’s not on the improve. (But) we’re going to get it fixed and we got the guy to do it, to start, to help.”
Downie, who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in Dec., 2015, has been on the road for the past month on the band’s final tour.
Kingston’s show was sold out in minutes and thousands turned out to watch the show in a square downtown.
“He’s going to be looking good for about at least 12 more years, I don’t know if they let you go beyond that. But he’ll do it,” Downie told concertgoers between songs.
Trudeau could be seen in the audience nodding and mouthing “thank you.”
Before the show started, Trudeau’s official photographer posted a photo on Twitter of the prime minister embracing Downie.
Trudeau has put repairing the relationship at the top of his first mandate as prime minister.
Letters to each of his ministers that spell out their assignments, each mentioned Indigenous peoples.
“No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples,” wrote Trudeau in the letters. “It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.”
In recent years, Downie has been tuning into issues around First Nations, specifically northern Ontario along the James Bay coast.
In band’s 13th release, Now for Plan A, the track Goodnight Attawapiskat closes out the album.
“Attawapiskat, City by the Bay! A diamond dazzling. Oh, Attawapiskat, you’re on your way.”
The Hip followed the album release up with a tour that included a stop in the Fort Albany First Nation just south of Attawapiskat.
The Kingston show was the last in a 15-city concert tour.
— with files from The Canadian Press