Justin Trudeau expected to run for Liberal leadership
Published Wednesday, September 26, 2012 7:52AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 26, 2012 10:13PM EDT
Justin Trudeau was clearly enjoying the attention Wednesday, as speculation ramped up he is set to announce his candidacy to lead the federal Liberals.
On his way out of the Liberal caucus meeting, Trudeau told reporters he appreciated the attention drummed up by reports he will throw his name into the leadership race next week.
"Thank you very much for all your interest," he said in comments echoing his remarks on the way into the meeting hours earlier.
"I am pleased to hear all the buzz and interest in the Liberal Party's fortunes, but I have nothing to announce today."
Reporters pressed him for more, but Trudeau walked away after offering an emphatic assurance.
“I will let you know when I have something to announce,” he said.
Despite the frenzy whipped up around Trudeau’s possible entry into the leadership race, he won’t be the party’s “white knight,” said former secretary to Michael Ignatieff Daniel Brock.
Brock told CTV’s Power Play that the younger Trudeau still has to prove himself to Canadians, particularly on the issue of the economy.
Given that the party is going through a period of re-building, after being relegated to third-party status in the last federal election, as well as the current global economic climate, this may take some work, said Brock.
“There is a big steep hill to climb,” he said. “I don’t think Justin is coming in as the white knight. I actually think he himself has some hurdles to overcome.
“The economy is the big issue. Household debt in this country is at an all-time high -- these are the kinds of things that people are worrying about and will worry more about in the future,” said Brock. “Those are the kinds of questions that Justin and all the leadership candidates have to have an answer to.”
Tim Harper, the former chief of staff for Paul Martin said that for Trudeau to succeed he must convince Canadians that the Liberal party under his leadership can be a viable alternative to the Conservatives and the NDP.
“There are a lot of voters who are coming to the conclusion that it’s time for a change in Ottawa,” he said. “A lot of that will centre around management of the economy going forward.”
In this race the Liberals must decide who is the best candidate to offer an alternative to Stephen Harper as well as manage the economy, he said.
The Liberals' new leader will be chosen on April 14, in a new process that allows both paid party members and non-paying supporters to cast ballots.
In the last election, under then-leader Michael Ignatieff, the Liberals were reduced to third-party status with just 35 seats in the House of Commons.
Interim Leader Bob Rae has already said he will not be vying for party's job.
So far, constitutional lawyer Deborah Coyne -- who is the mother of Justin Trudeau's half-sister Sarah -- has said she's interested in running for the leadership position.
Manitoba paramedic Shane Geschiere and economist Jonathon Mousley have also gone public with their intentions to seek the top job.
Liberal MPs Marc Garneau, Denis Coderre and Dominic Leblanc are also reportedly interested in leading the party, but have yet to make their intentions public.
The Liberal leadership campaign gets underway, officially, on Nov. 13.
Trudeau’s entry into the Liberal leadership race comes after months of personal contemplation and public speculation.
In an exclusive interview conducted on July 31, Trudeau told CTV's Seamus O'Regan that he's been wrestling with the decision, "in the larger context."
"(I’ve been) thinking about the country, you know, what kind of country I want my kids to grow up in. What kind of world I want my kids to grow up in," Trudeau said, explaining that both his young family and his career in public service are priorities in his life.
Trudeau said his children are always a large factor in his decision-making process as he tries to balance his professional life and his family life.
"It's a reflection. It's a weighing of my deep desire to serve, to do right by everything I’ve received," he said, conceding that he has considered putting off the leadership run until his children are older.
"There's a lot of external pressure," he admitted.
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