Toronto Star said:Justin Trudeau wins nomination
Apr 29, 2007 06:34 PM
MONTREAL – Justin Trudeau, the son of the late prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, won his bid to represent the Liberal party in the next federal election.
Party members in the east-end Montreal riding of Papineau gave Trudeau a slim victory on the first ballot.
His local opponents complained that Trudeau – whose first home was 24 Sussex Drive and who grew up in luxury – had no connection to the gritty, blue-collar Papineau.
But the 35-year-old former drama teacher suspended his current university studies and spent several weeks hitting the pavement, selling memberships and getting to know local leaders.
Trudeau invoked the legacy of his famous father in his speech and drew parallels between his current fight and his father's career.
In the fall of 1965, he said, his father ran in the neighbouring Mount Royal riding. Part of that riding now is now included in the Papineau district.
He told crowd members that some of them helped nominate the man who eventually gave Canada one of the most evolved tools for human rights in the world – the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"What you were part of 40 years ago changed Canada forever," he said. "We are all children of the Charter. You can understand how fiercely proud I am to be able to say that your prime minister was also my dad."
But Trudeau said his political dreams are based on future ambitions – not nostalgia.
He said he wants to wrest the riding back from a Bloc Quebecois that seeks to "divide and destroy Canada."
And he also wants the Liberal party to defeat the Conservatives, whom he described as plagiarists stealing policy from the U.S. right.
Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said he was proud of Trudeau.
Dion said the late prime minister's son decided to run by himself and to win by himself, and asked for nothing.
"So he comes in politics by the front door in a very proud way," Dion said in an interview from Toronto.
Less than an hour after the win, Dion had called his new candidate to congratulate him.
"I told him that nobody anymore will pretend to say that he has only a family name in politics," he said. "So from now on, he has also a first name."
Dion said Trudeau will be an asset to the party across Canada.
"He will work to be sure that Canada will enjoy a strong Liberal majority government next time," Dion said.
Questions have swirled around his possible entry into politics since he delivered a stirring eulogy at his father's 2000 funeral.
He came into national prominence on the day he was born.
On Christmas Day 1971, Trudeau became the first child born to a sitting prime minister since John A. Macdonald's youngest daughter.