My lunch with Justin Trudeau
The first time I ever spoke to Justin Trudeau, it was through a lengthy e-mail that I sent him, expressing my admiration for his involvement in the Liberal party. To show his gratitude, Justin sent me a letter in response. And that letter sparked a burning desire within me to one day meet him face-to-face.
That meeting finally came when Trudeau visited Wilfrid Laurier University on Oct. 12.
Trudeau was brought in to speak at Laurier with the help of a joint collaboration between Drew Redden, president of the WLU Young Liberals and Karen Redman, former Liberal MP for Kitchener Centre. Prior to his speech, Trudeau had lunch at Wilf’s with myself and members of the Young Liberals. Between bites of his steak wrap, Trudeau was able to answer why he has invested so much faith in youth involvement.
“The youth can look into the future. Once they get caught up in looking for a job, family and mortgage responsibilities, they are still able to see long term,” Trudeau said. “Right now, the youths are all idealists. They all want to see a better world. And with their involvement, we can have that bigger and better world.”
Trudeau received his Bachelor of Arts degree in literature while studying at McGill and he then received a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia. His BA has helped him as an emerging politician, as he learned to recognize the significance of the languages in Canada.
“The use of language has shaped the person that I am, not just the politician that I am,” Trudeau added.
Growing up in the midst of Trudeaumania, Justin got to witness what it was like for his father, the late Pierre Elliot Trudeau, to make vital decisions for Canada as a politician. Coming into politics, Justin Trudeau realized that there would be positive and negative receptions towards him being the representative for the Liberal party. However, he said he isn’t disheartened by the criticisms, but encouraged by the powerful impacts that both he and his father have made on the lives of Canadians.
Trudeau recounted the moments when he grew up with his father, who humbly calls himself “lucky” to have had the life that both his parents had given him. Trudeau was fortunate enough to witness the citizens of Canada approach his father and tell him how he had impacted their lives for the better. And it is these moments of kind expressions that kept Pierre fighting for Canada’s rights. Now a politician, Trudeau is motivated by the same thing.
Despite following the same career path as his father, Trudeau claimed that he would be involved in politics regardless of his father’s occupation. His father’s work as Prime Minister inspired Trudeau to always be involved in the causes that he believes in, but he did not join the government to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“People look at the power they have and say, ‘how can I do something meaningful with the power I have?’ That is a question that has driven me. If I weren’t a politician, I would still be a teacher. If my father wasn’t a politician…I still may well be a politician.” Justin concluded with that famous Trudeau grin.
Meeting Justin Trudeau was an experience that I will never forget. One should not view Justin as “The Next Pierre Trudeau”, as he is creating his own path to greatness simply by supporting the causes – and the people – that he has faith in. I believe that Justin Trudeau is more than just a name. I believe that he was meant to do great things for Canada.