Justin Trudeau

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Justin Trudeau
MP
INC 2009 Justin Trudeau.jpg
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Incumbent
Assumed office
April 14, 2013
Preceded by Bob Rae
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Papineau
Incumbent
Assumed office
October 14, 2008
Preceded by Vivian Barbot
Personal details
Born Justin Pierre James Trudeau
(1971-12-25) December 25, 1971 (age 42)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Sophie Grégoire (m. 2005)
Relations Alexandre Trudeau (Brother)
Michel Trudeau (Brother)
James Sinclair (Grandfather)
Charles Trudeau (Grandfather)
Children Xavier
Hadrien
Ella-Grace
Parents Pierre Trudeau (Father)
Margaret Sinclair (Mother)
Residence Montreal, Quebec
Alma mater McGill University
University of British Columbia
Profession Teacher
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website justin.ca

Justin Pierre James Trudeau MP (born December 25, 1971) is a Canadian politician and the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Trudeau is the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau, long-serving Prime Minister, and Margaret Trudeau. He was elected as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Papineau in 2008, and re-elected in 2011. He has served as the Liberal Party's critic for Youth and Multiculturalism, Citizenship and Immigration, and Post Secondary Education, Youth and Amateur Sport. On April 14, 2013, Trudeau was elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Early life[edit]

Trudeau was born in Ottawa, Ontario, to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Margaret Trudeau (née Sinclair).[1] He is the second child in Canadian history to be born when one of his parents was prime minister; the first was John A. Macdonald's youngest daughter Margaret Mary Macdonald. Trudeau's younger brothers Alexandre (Sacha) (born December 25, 1973) and Michel (October 2, 1975 – November 13, 1998) were the third and fourth.[2][3] Trudeau's maternal grandfather, Scottish-born James Sinclair, served as Minister of Fisheries in the cabinet of Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent.[4]

Trudeau's parents separated in 1977, when Trudeau was six years old, and his father retired as prime minister in 1984.[5] Of his mother and father's marriage, Trudeau said in 2009, "They loved each other incredibly, passionately, completely. But there was 30 years between them and my mom never was an equal partner in what encompassed my father's life, his duty, his country."[6]

After leaving politics Pierre Trudeau raised his children in relative privacy in Montreal. Trudeau attended Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, his father's alma mater.[7] In 2008, Trudeau said that of all his early family outings he enjoyed camping with his father the most, because "that was where our father got to be just our father – a dad in the woods."[8] Trudeau, then 28, emerged as a prominent figure in October 2000, after delivering a eulogy at his father's state funeral.[9] The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) received numerous calls to rebroadcast the speech after its initial transmission, and leading Quebec politician Claude Ryan described it as "perhaps [...] the first manifestation of a dynasty."[10] A book issued by the CBC in 2003 included the speech in its list of significant Canadian events from the past fifty years.[11]

Trudeau has a Bachelor of Arts degree in literature from McGill University and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia. After graduation, he worked as a French and math teacher at West Point Grey Academy and Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Vancouver, British Columbia.[12][13] From 2002 to 2004, he studied engineering at the Université de Montréal.[14] He also started a Master of Arts degree in Environmental Geography at McGill University before suspending his program to seek public office.[15]

In 2007, Trudeau starred in the two-part CBC miniseries The Great War, which gave an account of Canada's participation in the First World War. He portrayed Talbot Mercer Papineau, who was killed on October 30, 1917, during the Battle of Passchendaele.[16]

Trudeau is one of several children of former prime ministers who have become Canadian media personalities. The others are Ben Mulroney (son of Brian Mulroney), Catherine Clark (daughter of Joe Clark), and Trudeau's younger brother, Alexandre.[17] Ben Mulroney was a guest at Trudeau's wedding.[18]

Advocacy[edit]

Trudeau has used his public status to promote various causes. He and his family started the Kokanee Glacier Alpine Campaign for winter sports safety in 2000, two years after his brother Michel Trudeau died in an avalanche during a ski trip.[19] In 2002, Trudeau criticized the British Columbia government's decision to stop its funding for a public avalanche warning system.[20]

From left to right is; Trudeau, Darfurian refugee Tragi Mustafa, an unknown female, and Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire

Trudeau chaired the Katimavik youth program, a project started by longtime family friend Jacques Hébert, from 2002 to 2006.[21] In 2002–03, he was a panelist on CBC Radio's Canada Reads series, where he championed The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston.[22] Trudeau and his brother Alexandre inaugurated the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto in April 2004; the centre later became a part of the Munk School of Global Affairs.[23] In 2006, he hosted the Giller Prize for literature.[24][25]

In 2005, Trudeau fought against a proposed $100-million zinc mine that he argued would poison the Nahanni River, a United Nations World Heritage Site located in the Northwest Territories. He was quoted as saying, "The river is an absolutely magnificent, magical place. I'm not saying mining is wrong [...] but that is not the place for it. It's just the wrong thing to be doing."[26][27]

On September 17, 2006, Trudeau was the master of ceremonies at a Toronto rally organized by Roméo Dallaire that called for Canadian participation in resolving the Darfur crisis.[28][29][30]

Political beginnings[edit]

Trudeau at the 2006 leadership convention

Trudeau supported the Liberal Party from a young age, offering his support to party leader John Turner in the 1988 federal election.[31] Two years later, he defended Canadian federalism at a student event at the Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, an elite Jesuit high school which he attended.[32]

Following his father's death, Trudeau became more involved with the Liberal Party throughout the 2000s. Along with Olympian Charmaine Crooks, he co-hosted a tribute to outgoing prime minister Jean Chrétien at the party's 2003 leadership convention and was later appointed to chair a task force on youth renewal after the party's defeat in the 2006 federal election.[33][34]

In October 2006, Trudeau criticized Quebec nationalism by describing political nationalism generally as an "old idea from the 19th century", "based on a smallness of thought" and not relevant to modern Quebec. This comment was seen as a criticism of Michael Ignatieff, then a candidate in the 2006 Liberal Party leadership election, who was promoting recognition of Quebec as a nation.[35][36] Trudeau subsequently wrote a public letter on the subject, describing the idea of Quebec nationhood as "against everything my father ever believed."[37][38]

Trudeau announced his support for leadership candidate Gerard Kennedy shortly before the 2006 convention and introduced Kennedy during the candidates' final speeches.[39] When Kennedy dropped off after the second ballot, Trudeau went with him to support the ultimate winner, Stéphane Dion.[40][41]

Rumours circulated in early 2007 that Trudeau would run in a by-election in the Montreal riding of Outremont, but he instead announced that he would seek the Liberal nomination in Papineau for the next general election.[42][43][44] Trudeau faced off against Mary Deros, a Montreal city councillor and Basilio Giordano, the publisher of a local Italian-language newspaper for the Liberal nomination. On April 29, 2007, he easily won the party's nomination, picking up 690 votes to 350 for Deros and 220 for Giordano.[45]

Liberal MP[edit]

Prime Minister Stephen Harper called an election for October 14, 2008, by this time Trudeau had been campaigning for a year in Papineau. On election day Trudeau narrowly defeated Bloc Québécois incumbent Vivian Barbot.[46] Following his election win, Edward Greenspon, editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail, noted that Trudeau would "be viewed as few other rookie MPs are—as a potential future prime minister—and scrutinized through that lens."[8]

The Conservative Party won a minority government in the 2008 election, and Trudeau entered parliament as a member of the Official Opposition. Trudeau was the first member of the 40th Parliament of Canada to introduce a private member's motion, in which he called for a "national voluntary service policy for young people". The proposal won support from parliamentarians across party lines.[47] He later co-chaired the Liberal Party's April 2009 national convention in Vancouver, and in October of the same year he was appointed as the party's critic for multiculturalism and youth.[48] In September 2010, he was reassigned as critic for youth, citizenship, and immigration.[49] He was critical of the Harper government's legislation targeting human smuggling, which he argued would penalize the victims of smuggling.[50]

He encouraged an increase of Canada's relief efforts after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and sought more accessible immigration procedures for Haitians moving to Canada in the time of crisis. His own riding includes a significant Haitian community.[51]

Trudeau was re-elected in Papineau in the 2011 Canadian federal election, as the Liberal Party fell to third-party standing in the House of Commons with only thirty-four seats. Ignatieff resigned as party leader immediately after the election, and rumours again circulated that Trudeau could run to become his successor. On this occasion, Trudeau said, "I don't feel I should be closing off any options," but added, "because of the history packaged into my name, a lot of people are turning to me in a way that [...] to be blunt, concerns me."[52] Weeks after the election Toronto MP Bob Rae was selected to serve as the interim leader until the party's leadership convention, which was later decided to be held in April 2013. Rae appointed Trudeau as the party's critic for Post Secondary Education, Youth and Amateur Sport.[53] Trudeau has been acknowledged as the "rock star" of the party, and since his re-election he has travelled the country hosting fundraisers for charities and the Liberal Party.[54][55][56][57]

During March 2012 Trudeau took part in a charity boxing match on behalf of "Fight for the Cure" with Conservative senator, Patrick Brazeau.[58] Trudeau won the fight in the third round, and the result was considered an upset.[58][59]

Liberal Party leadership[edit]

2008 Trudeau promotional photo by Jean-Marc Carisse

After Dion's resignation as Liberal leader in 2008, Trudeau's name was mentioned as a potential candidate to succeed him, with polls showing him as a favourite among Canadians for the position.[60][61] However, he did not enter the race and Ignatieff was later acclaimed as leader in December 2008.[62] After the party's poor showing in the 2011 election, Ignatieff resigned from the leadership and Trudeau was again seen as a potential candidate to lead the party.[63] Following the election Trudeau said he was undecided about seeking the leadership and months later announced he would not seek the post because he had a young family.[64] When interim leader Rae, who was also seen as a frontrunner, announced he would not be entering the race in June 2012, Trudeau was hit with a "tsunami" of calls from supporters to reconsider his earlier decision to not seek the leadership.[65] Opinion polling conducted by several pollsters showed that if Trudeau were to become leader the Liberal Party would surge in support, from a distant third place to either being competitive with the Conservative Party or leading them.[66][67] In July 2012, Trudeau stated that he would reconsider his earlier decision to not seek the leadership and would announce his final decision at the end of the summer.[68]

2013 leadership election[edit]

On September 26, 2012, multiple media outlets started reporting that Trudeau would launch his leadership bid the following week.[69][70] While Trudeau was seen as a frontrunner for the leadership of the Liberal Party, he was criticized for his perceived lack of substance.[71][72] During his time as a Member of Parliament he spoke little on policy matters and it was not known where he stood on many issues such as the economy and foreign affairs.[73][74] Some strategists and pundits believed the leadership is the time for Trudeau to be tested on these issues, however there was also fear within the party that his celebrity status and large lead may deter other strong candidates from entering the leadership race.[75][76][77]

On October 2, 2012, Trudeau held a rally in Montreal to launch his bid for the leadership of the Liberal Party.[78] The core people on his campaign team are considered longtime friends, and all in their 30s and 40s. His senior advisor is Gerald Butts, the former President of WWF-Canada who previously served as principal secretary to ex-Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty. Other senior aides include campaign manager Katie Telford, and policy advisors Mike McNeir and Robert Asselin, who have all worked for recent Liberal Party leaders.[79] His brother Alexandre also took a break from his documentary work to be a senior advisor on Trudeau's campaign.[80]

During the leadership campaign three by-elections were held on November 26, 2012. The riding Calgary Centre was expected to be a three-way race between the Conservatives, Liberals and Green Party. A week before by-election day Sun Media reported on comments Trudeau had made in a 2010 interview with Télé-Québec, in which he said "Canada isn't doing well right now because it's Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda." Trudeau's campaign advisor said that the comments were being brought up now due to the close race in Calgary Centre.[81] The following day, Trudeau apologized, saying he was wrong to use "Alberta" as "shorthand" in referring to Stephen Harper's government.[82] The Conservatives held onto Calgary Centre in the by-election by less than 1,200 votes. Liberal candidate Harvey Locke said he lost the by-election on his own and that comments made by Trudeau did not influence the outcome.[83]

Fellow leadership candidate Marc Garneau, seen as Trudeau's main challenger in the race, criticized Trudeau for not releasing enough substantial policy positions. Garneau called on him to release more detailed policies before members and supporters begin to vote.[84] Garneau later challenged Trudeau to a one-on-one debate, and said that if Trudeau could not defend his ideas in a debate against him, he wouldn’t be able to do so against Prime Minister Harper.[85] Trudeau also clashed in debates with challenger Joyce Murray, who was the only Liberal leadership candidate to speak out strongly in favour of electing the House of Commons with a system of proportional representation; Murray favours a system which supplements individual districts with list seats to make a party's seat share for a given region identical to vote share. She challenged Trudeau on the issue, especially over his assertion that voters wanted proportional representation because they didn't understand the consequences of adopting it.[86]

On March 13, 2013, Garneau dropped out of the leadership race, saying that polling conducted by his campaign shows that he cannot beat Trudeau.[87][88][89]

With Joyce Murray the last challenger receiving significant press time, more Liberal politicians and public figures declared themselves for Trudeau. Trudeau was declared the winner of the leadership election on April 14, 2013, garnering 80.1% of 30,800 votes.[90] Joyce Murray finished in second place with 10.16% points, ahead of Martha Hall Findlay's 5.71% and behind winner Justin Trudeau's 80.09% points.[91] Trudeau had lost only 5 ridings, all to Murray and all in BC.[92]

Liberal leader[edit]

Polls conducted during the leadership race showed that support for the Liberals would surge if they were led by Trudeau. Days after winning his party's leadership a poll showed that the Liberal Party was the choice of 43 per cent of respondents. This compared to 30 per cent for the governing Conservatives and 19 per cent for the Official Opposition New Democrats.[93]

According to EKOS Politics, in October 2013 Trudeau's approval numbers improved to a 48-29 Approval-Disapproval; Thomas Mulcair's jumped to a slight lead at 50-25, while Stephen Harper's ratings sank to 24-69.[94] A December 12–15 (2013) EKOS poll showed the Liberals preferred by 32.1% of voters, the Conservatives by 26.2%, the NDP 22.9%. Likely voters, estimated by removing those who didn't vote in 2011, moved the parties into a logjam: Liberals 29.1%, Conservatives 28.5%, NDP 27.2%.[95]

In 2013, Justin Trudeau chose to give up his seat at the funeral of Nelson Mandela, in deference to Irwin Cotler as representative of the Liberal Party of Canada, due to Cotler's work for and with Nelson Mandela in fighting Apartheid.[96]

On 27 January 2014, Trudeau and MP Carolyn Bennett escorted Chrystia Freeland into the House of Commons, as is traditional for by-election victors.[97]

Trudeau launched an internet video the week before the 2014 Liberal party convention entitled "An economy that benefits us all" in which he narrates his economic platform. He said that Canada’s debt to GDP ratios have come down in recent years and now it’s time for Ottawa to “step up”.[98]

Political positions[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Trudeau has stated that he wishes to form a party that is “resolutely pro-choice” and that potential Liberal candidates in the 2015 election who are anti-abortion would not be greenlighted for the nomination if they did not agree to vote pro-choice on abortion bills.[99] This stance was in line with a resolution passed by a majority of Liberal party members at its 2012 policy convention.[99] Trudeau's stance has received mixed reaction from politicians and Catholic officials alike, with former MP Jim Karygiannis saying it will "definitely hurt the party;"[100] and Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins writing to Trudeau urging him to reverse his ruling,[101] only to have him defend his ruling and decline meeting with other Catholic clergy to discuss the matter.[102]

Marijuana[edit]

After the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Trudeau expressed his favour in the potential legalization in Canada, saying that Canadians would benefit from analyzing the experiences of both Colorado and Washington.[103]

Religion[edit]

Trudeau has expressed opposition towards the proposed Quebec Charter of Values, saying it would make the people of Quebec "choose between their freedom of religion and freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and their economic well-being and their acceptance in the workplace. That for me is a real concern."[104] As of 2014, the Charter was dismissed after the Quebec Liberal Party won in the 2014 provincial election.

International politics[edit]

ISIS[edit]

Trudeau has been criticized over his position on Canada's role in regards to the situation in the Middle East regarding the radical group ISIS. During the Canada 2020 conference, he emphasized the need for humanitarian action over military action; he then said that those behind Harper's military stance are "trying to whip out [their] CF-18s and show how big they are."[105] The comments made at the conference sparked controversy among those who viewed Trudeau as not taking the situation seriously.[105]

Personal life[edit]

Trudeau with his wife Sophie Grégoire at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.

Trudeau first met Sophie Grégoire when they were both children growing up in Montreal, as Grégoire was a classmate and childhood friend of Trudeau's youngest brother, Michel.[106] They reconnected as adults in June 2003, when Grégoire, by then a Quebec television personality, was assigned as Trudeau's co-host for a charity ball; they began dating several months later.[106] Trudeau and Grégoire became engaged in October 2004,[106] and married on May 28, 2005 in a Catholic ceremony at Montreal's Sainte-Madeleine d'Outremont Church.[107] They have three children: sons Xavier James (born October 2007)[108] and Hadrien (born February 2014),[109][110] and daughter Ella-Grace Margaret (born February 2009).[111][112]

In June 2013, two months after Trudeau became the leader of the Liberal Party, he and his wife sold their home in the Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood of Montreal. They began living in a rented home in Ottawa's Rockcliffe Park, the neighbourhood in which Trudeau resided as a child during his father's time as Prime Minister.[113]

Electoral record[edit]

Liberal Party of Canada leadership election, 2013
Candidate First Ballot
Points*  % Votes  %
Justin Trudeau 24,669 80.1 81,389 78.76
Joyce Murray 3,131 10.2 12,148 11.76
Martha Hall Findlay 1,760 5.7 6,585 6.37
Martin Cauchon 816 2.6 1,630 1.58
Deborah Coyne 214 0.7 833 0.81
Karen McCrimmon 210 0.7 757 0.73
Total 30,800 100.0 104,552 100.00

*Each federal electoral district had 100 points, which were determined by the voters in the district.

Canadian federal election, 2011: Papineau
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Justin Trudeau 16,429 38.41 -3.06
     New Democratic Party Marcos Radhames Tejada 12,102 28.29 +19.55
     Bloc Québécois Vivian Barbot 11,091 25.93 -12.76
     Conservative Shama Chopra 2,021 4.73 -2.90
Green Danny Polifroni 806 1.88 -0.96
     Marxist-Leninist Peter Macrisopoulos 228 0.53
     N/A (Communist League) Joseph Young 95 0.22
Total valid votes 42,772 100.00
Total rejected ballots 558
Turnout 43,330
Source: Official Results, Elections Canada.
Canadian federal election, 2008: Papineau
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Justin Trudeau 17,724 41.47 $76,108
     Bloc Québécois Vivian Barbot 16,535 38.69 $70,872
     New Democratic Party Costa Zafiropoulos 3,734 8.74 $5,745
     Conservative Mustaque Sarker 3,262 7.63 $44,958
Green Ingrid Hein 1,213 2.84 $863
     Independent Mahmood Raza Baig 267 0.62 $980
Total valid votes 42,735 100.00
Total rejected ballots 576
Turnout 43,311 61.77
Electors on the lists 70,115
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.

Published works[edit]

  • Trudeau, Justin (2014). Common Ground. HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 978-1443433372. 

References[edit]

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