Trudeau meets with Merritt supporters
Liberal Party of Canada leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau talked his political philosophy Monday with local supporters at a luncheon in Merritt.
Trudeau made the stop at the Merritt Desert Inn on his way to Kelowna for a speaking engagement near the end of his B.C. campaign. The son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said his father was one of the influencing factors in his entry to the leadership race.
“I hesitated for a long time before deciding to throw my hat into the ring for leadership of the Liberal party,” Trudeau said. “I did it for one reason and for one reason only: I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to be a good dad while I was travelling around the country and doing the work that needed to be done. But I had a role model, an extraordinary father who was there as much as he possibly could be, who tucked me into bed every night.”
The younger Trudeau talked about how achieving equality has changed since his father’s time as Prime Minister from the late ’60s to early ’80s. Trudeau compared his father’s work toward equality — which included Canada’s bilingualism and multiculturalism policies — with today’s challenges, including honouring First Nations treaty rights.
“There are all sorts of issues to work on without clear solutions.
“Canada is the one place on Earth that is strong, not in spite of our differences, but because of our differences,” he said.
The methods of campaigning have also changed since his father’s time, Trudeau said. His campaign has taken him across the country to gain supporters before the April 14 leadership election.
“Reaching out to people who’ve never been involved before and connecting them to something is something my father never quite had to do as explicitly as I do, and I’m very excited about doing it,” he said.
About 20 supporters heard Trudeau’s views on a wide variety of topics including healthcare, education, foreign investments, and political engagement in the hour-and-a-half meet-and-greet before the private lunch with about 15 supporters.
Much of Trudeau’s discourse came back to unifying a country he sees as politically divided for its greater good.
“We have to get away from the easy politics of labels and division of choosing to be cynical and vote against the left and vote against the right,” he said. “You have to get people to vote for something once again.”
Another theme of his speech was the mutual dependence of environmental sustainability on the economy.
“You can’t have a sustainable economy without also having a sustainable environment,” he said. “There’s always going to be a need for resources. The way we extract them, the way we draw them and how we transform them is what’s going to define how successful we are as communities.”
Trudeau is one of nine candidates for the Liberal leadership bid. The party will announce its new leader on April 14.