What do the words hard-working, determined, and inexperienced all have in common? They’re all adjectives that have been used to describe Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal party and potentially Canada’s next Prime Minister. Born into a wealthy political family and the son of one of Canada’s most notorious Prime Ministers, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Justin has been in the public spotlight since birth. However, in this election Justin will need more than a famous surname to win the hearts and minds of Canadians.
In 2011, the Liberal party suffered one of its worst defeats in its history. Not only did the Liberal party fail to take any constituencies away from its competitors, but they also finished in third place with only 19 percent of the vote. To add insult to injury, Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal party leader at the time, lost in his own riding. Four years on, it’s clear that the Liberal party needs to cause an earthquake in Canadian politics if they ever hope to once again hold the balance of power. What’s less clear is whether a young Justin Trudeau is the right person to lead the Liberal party to victory.
Aside from being praised for his eager and passionate attitude during the debates and campaign period, Trudeau has also been praised by Liberal supporters for his policy ideas to invest in clean energy, offer greater economic security for middle class families, and legalize marijuana. But of course, a politician wouldn’t be a politician unless they had critics – and Trudeau has many.
Following Conservative attack ads and controversy surrounding particular promises in the Liberal election manifesto, millions of Canadians are casting their doubts over whether Trudeau is ready to run the country. This article will outline an array of interesting facts – some trivial and some serious – that you may not know about Justin Trudeau. Ultimately, the intention of this article is to help Canadians gain a greater perspective of the Liberal party leader and of the 2015 federal election.
15. Justin Trudeau Has Worked As An Actor
Politics and acting are similar subjects. For instance, both an actor and a politician have to be able to convince an audience that they’re genuine and honest. What’s no secret is that Justin Trudeau not only enjoys politics, but he also enjoys acting. In 2007, Trudeau starred in a CBC miniseries entitled The Great War. The series portrayed Canada’s role in World War 1, with Trudeau playing the role of Talbot Papineau, a Quebec lawyer and famous soldier who was killed in the battle of Passchendaele.
14. Justin Trudeau And Thomas Mulcair Are Ninth Cousins
According to Ancestry.ca, Justin Trudeau and the federal NDP leader, Thomas Mulcair, are ninth cousins. Their family ties date back 400 years to their eighth great-grandparents, Mathieu Amiot and Marie Mivile. As surprising as this may appear on the surface, family ties between politicians and public figures aren’t uncommon. For instance, the Bush family has ties to both the Royal Family and Barack Obama.
13. Justin Trudeau Is The MP For The Smallest Riding In The Country
Justin Trudeau is the elected member of Parliament for Papineau, the smallest electoral district in Canada measuring at nine square kilometres. Trudeau has represented the Montreal riding since the 2008 federal election, in which he defeated the incumbent Bloc Quebecois candidate by over 5,000 votes. However, according to a recent CROP poll of Papineau voters commissioned by the NDP, Trudeau could be set to lose his Papineau seat to the NDP’s Anne Lagacé Dowson. But of course, it’s no surprise that a poll commissioned by the NDP would favour their candidate.
12. Trudeau Has Called Canada’s Environment Minister “A Piece Of Sh*t.”
During a heated question time debate over the Kyoto Protocol in 2011, Trudeau called Federal Environment Minister, Peter Kent, a “piece of shit.” Trudeau made his comments in response to Kent’s suggestion that NDP MP, Megan Leslie, should have been in South Africa for a UN climate change conference during a time when opposition MPs were banned from doing so. Immediately following the question period, Trudeau made an effort to apologize, stating that he was sorry for losing his temper and using unparliamentary language. Below is a link where you can watch Trudeau’s outburst.
11. Trudeau Has Boxing Experience
Although politicians are known for sparring with one another over policies in Parliament, what they’re not as known for is sparring with one another in the ring. Pierre Trudeau, well known for his witty and often controversial remarks, was also a fan of boxing. Indeed, when his son was growing up, he’d often take him out for boxing lessons. Last year it appeared those lessons paid off when Justin defeated Conservative Senator, Patrick Brazeau, in a charity boxing match. Below is a link where you can watch the fight.
10. Trudeau Has Worked As A Secondary School Teacher
Before getting involved in politics, Trudeau worked as a teacher at West Point Grey Academy and Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Vancouver, British Columbia. Aside from teaching french and math, Trudeau spent the majority of his time teaching drama. According to Trudeau, a few of his drama students went on to become actors and a couple others went on to become teachers themselves.
9. Trudeau Has Pledged To Phase Out Subsidies For The Fossil Fuel Industry
Earlier this year, Justin Trudeau announced during a speech in Vancouver that if elected, he would fulfil a G20 pledge to phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. This pledge was accompanied with an array of other environmental promises, including the creation of national emissions-reduction targets and the investment of $200 million each year to support clean technologies in the forestry, energy and agricultural sectors.
Although his policy ideas are praised by those concerned primarily with the environment and clean energy investment, Trudeau’s promises have been critiqued by both the NDP and the Conservatives. According to Malcolm Allen, the NDPs deputy critic for energy and natural resources, Trudeau’s speech was “a whole pile of smoke and mirrors.” And according to multiple Conservative ministers, Trudeau’s plan would likely have more of an impact on the budgets of Canadian families than on the environment.
8. Trudeau Has Promised To Reform Elections Canada
Elections Canada is supposed to be an independently run organization that Canadians can trust, however following the 2011 election voter suppression scandal and issues regarding accountability, Trudeau’s Liberal party has stated they’re determined to make reforms.
According their 2015 election manifesto, the Liberal party has promised to “ensure that Elections Canada has the resources it needs to investigate voter fraud and suppression,” as well as “make certain that both Elections Canada and the Commissioner of Canada Elections are fully independent and accountable to Parliament – not the government of the day.”
7. Trudeau Has Pledged To Create A New Infrastructure Bank
In an effort to finance the construction of greater public infrastructure, Trudeau has pledged the establishment of the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB). Working in partnership with other orders of governments and Canada’s financial community, the CIB would primarily focus on providing low-cost financing for infrastructure projects and Green Bonds for renewable energy projects. To find out more details about Trudeau’s plan for an infrastructure bank, click this link.
6. Trudeau’s Intended Seat In Parliament Was Taken By Mulcair
When Trudeau first made the decision to participate in the 2008 federal election, he initially intended to run in Outremont, Quebec. However, despite it being largely considered a Liberal stronghold, the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair ran in that riding during a by-election in 2007 and won, prompting Trudeau to reconsider his options. Not fancying his chances against Mulcair, Trudeau decided to run in Papineau, which at the time was occupied by the Bloc Quebecois. Despite claims that Papineau would be a tough riding to win, Trudeau silenced the critics by securing the Liberal nomination and defeating the Bloc Quebecois.
5. Trudeau Could Be The First Offspring Of A Former Prime Minister To Be Prime Minister
No prime minister in Canada’s history has ever had one of their children go on and follow in their footsteps – until maybe now. Indeed, it’s not unprecedented that politicians have had offspring that grow up to be involved in politics. However it is unprecedented for a prime minister’s offspring to grow up and become prime minister. If elected, Justin Trudeau will be the first offspring of a former prime minister to become prime minister.
4. Trudeau Is Open To The Idea Of Quebec Sovereignty
Like his dad, Justin has always appeared to be a supporter of a united Federal Canada. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any circumstances under which Justin would favour Quebec secession. In an interview with Radio-Canada in early 2012, Justin said he could favour Quebec becoming its own country if Canada became “the Canada of Stephen Harper,” and if federal policies were implemented against abortion and against gay marriage. Trudeau’s comments received a mixture of feedback, with Conservatives calling him a closet separatist and Liberals defending him by attempting to reaffirm his commitment to a strong and united Canada.
3. Trudeau Supports Bill C51
Bill C51, the controversial anti-terror bill passed earlier this year, will not be repealed by a Trudeau government. Despite condemnation by the United Nations, human rights groups, and the majority of Canadians, Justin Trudeau has strongly defended his party’s decision to vote in favour of Bill C51. In an interview with the Ottawa Citizen and the National Post, Trudeau stated that although the bill has its flaws, there are provisions in it that serve the best interests of Canadians.
2. Justin Trudeau Supports Legalization Of Marijuana
Following decades of debate and monumental policy changes in Colorado and Washington, Justin Trudeau stated he and the Liberal party are determined to legalize marijuana if they form government after the 2015 election. Trudeau stated he’s in favour of legalization primarily because of his values relating to personal freedom and protecting the vulnerable. Furthermore, Trudeau feels that the current war on drugs isn’t working as it both continues to waste money and fails to protect children. According to polls, the majority of Canadians share the Liberal stance on Marijuana, with almost two thirds of Canadians favouring some form of legalization or decriminalization.
1. Trudeau Supports Deficit Spending
Earlier this year, Trudeau shocked Canadians when he announced that the Liberals were scrapping their initial pledge to balance the budget and were committed to a three-year deficit spending plan to encourage economic growth. Like any political decision, Trudeau’s pledge was met with both positive feedback and criticism. Instantly, the Conservatives jumped on the opportunity to call the new Liberal plan dangerous, claiming that if implemented it would increase Canada’s national debt. Liberal supporters however retaliated, stating that a decade of cuts have not helped the middle class and that investment is necessary to stimulate the economy.
Bibliography: ottawacitizen.com, news.yahoo.com, thestar.com, metronews.ca, nationalpost.com, cbc.ca