After months of speculation, it’s official!
Justin Trudeau is running for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. And he’s already dreaming big: he wants to replace Stephen Harper as Canada’s next prime minister. Announcing his leadership bid in Montreal Tuesday, the Papineau MP delivered a speech unequivocally pointing in that direction.
The speech opened with the famous Goethe line: “Make no small dreams, they have not the power to move the soul.”
Then he took a swipe at both the Conservatives and the Official Opposition New Democrats. Hoping to capitalize of the ongoing political awakening of the young people in Canada, Trudeau touted himself as the candidate most positioned to connect with the youth.
And then a direct challenge to the Harper Conservative government’s divisive, backward-looking, intolerant and Jason Kenney-led anti-immigrant agenda:
This magnificent, unlikely country was founded on a bold new premise. That people of different beliefs and backgrounds, from all corners of the world, could come together to build a better life for themselves and for their children than they ever could have alone.
This new idea that diversity is strength. Not a challenge to be overcome or a difficulty to be tolerated. That is the heart and soul of the Canadian success story.
No surprise here. Trudeau has served the Liberals’ critic for youth and immigration. And he’s only 40.
For Trudeau, the Liberals are the best party to move Canada forward.
We were deeply connected to Canadians. We made their values our values, their dreams our dreams, their fights our fights.
It’s a bit of a contradiction, one that suggests that the Liberals are currently disconnected from Canadians. Trudeau invites Canadians to join his effort to “write a new chapter in the history of the Liberal Party.” He wants the Liberal Party “to be once again the vehicle for Quebecers to contribute to the future of Canada.” Goodbye Premier Pauline Marois, Parti Québécois and Quebec separatist aspirations. Right? Tough thing to do for a province that just elected a separatist party to lead it.
Whether the fact that Trudeau is the son of former popular prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau will hinder of help him, time and the pending leadership campaign will tell. But already, former prime minister Brian Mulroney believes Trudeau has what it takes to be the next PM.
Trudeau joins Shane Geschiere and Deborah Coyne, who have already signaled their intention to run. Coyne, a university professor, constitutional activist, lawyer, writer, public servant, writer and mother of two children, is the mother of Pierre Trudeau’s daughter Sarah.
The new leader will be chosen in April. Let the Liberal leadership (and Trudeau’s 2015 federal election) race begin!