Trudeau announces leadership bid
After much speculation and ongoing predications, Justin Trudeau announced his Liberal leadership bid.
On Oct. 2, Trudeau arrived at the William-Hingston Centre in Montreal and met with Liberal supporters. With his family, including his wife Sophie Grégoire and their two children, Trudeau declared his intention to run for leadership of the party.
“I am running because I believe Canadians want and need new leadership,” Trudeau said in his statement.
“The Conservative government is taking this country in a direction most Canadians don’t want it to go. We want a vision for Canada’s future grounded not in the politics of envy or mistrust.”
As the eldest son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the younger Trudeau had previously been hesitant about running for leadership in the near future, citing family commitments as one of the primary reasons.
His announcement, according to Wilfrid Laurier University professor Barry Kay, may be a result of the Liberal Party having no other serious alternatives.
“The Liberals are no longer a serious contender,” Kay said.
“I think the Liberal strategy is not about winning this next election, it’s about improving themselves and positioning themselves as the alternatives to the Conservatives.”
Trudeau, having been an MPP for the Papineau riding in Ottawa since 2008, does not have many years of experience in politics, leading some to question the validity of his campaign.
There has been speculation as to whether his family’s history in politics has had more of an impact on his popularity than his own political background.
It has also been noted that Trudeau has not adequately addressed his thoughts on issues such as economy and foreign affairs.
Kay agreed that Trudeau would have to focus on policy matters, not simply his moniker, in order to be effective.
“I have reason to believe that he is bright and can pick stuff up along the way, but he hasn’t been a great parliamentary figure until now,” Kay reasoned.
“He may be deep in terms of policy ideas, but he hasn’t shown any of that and he’s going to have to show if he’s going to be taken seriously, he’s got to be more than just a celebrity.”
Some may have a difficult time trying to overlook the impressive family history of Trudeau. Wilfrid Laurier University Young Liberals president Dan Entralgo believes that Trudeau’s political endeavours are often overshadowed by the legacy that his father left behind in Canadian politics.
“The Trudeau name has a legacy that goes along with it and it’s kind of seen as Canadian royalty,” Entralgo said.
“It will have a huge impact because people will be looking at Justin Trudeau, not who he is or what his policies will be. That means that we have to focus on his leadership race.”
Despite the question of his political abilities, Trudeau has previously been admired for his advocacy for youth. Notably, he campaigned against the cuts for the Katimavik youth program, which he chaired. While some believe Trudeau has sparked interest in Canadian youth, he must converge with the rest of Canada.
“Ever since Justin Trudeau started his political career, his focus has always been advocacy of the youth, so he’s obviously going to appeal to the youth,” Entralgo reasoned.
“It’s going to be a critical balance between appealing to the youth and appealing to experience.”
While it is still too early to determine what kind of a leader he will be for the Liberal Party, Trudeau is looking forward to revolutionizing the party and making vast improvements for Canada.
“Part of what it means to be a citizen is to step up when you think you can make a positive difference by serving your fellow citizens,” Trudeau said during his announcement.
“This is one of those times. And the Liberal Party of Canada, together with its current members and its new members and supporters to come, is ready to make that positive difference again.”