Trudeau wins Liberal Party leadership in landslide
Published Sunday, April 14, 2013 10:57AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, April 14, 2013 10:57PM EDT
Justin Trudeau won the Liberal leadership in a landslide first-ballot victory Sunday night and will lead the third-place party into the next federal election.
Trudeau, the 41-year-old MP for the Montreal riding of Papineau, was declared Liberal Party leader with nearly 80 per cent of the vote at an event in Ottawa Sunday evening.
“My fellow Liberals, it is with great respect for those who have stood in this place before me and great resolve to do the hard work that is required in front of us that I accept with great humility the confidence you have placed in me,” Trudeau told a cheering crowd of Liberals at a downtown Ottawa hotel.
Liberal MP Joyce Murray, who used her campaign to push for electoral co-operation with the NDP and the Green Party to defeat the Conservatives in the next election, came a distant second with 10 per cent of the vote.
"There's many Canadians that felt that would be the way forward,” Murray said of her electoral plan.
“Clearly, we have a leader that has a different strategy and I'm going to be supporting Justin as part of his team.”
Not long before Trudeau’s victory was announced, the party said that 104,552 votes were cast over the past week, putting online and phone-in voter turnout at 82 per cent.
“Fantastic participation,” Liberal Party President Mike Crawley tweeted. “Congrats to all who voted.”
Of the votes cast:
- Trudeau received 81,389
- Murray received 12,148
- Martha Hall Findlay received 6,585
- Martin Cauchon received 1,630
- Deborah Coyne received 833
- Karen McCrimmon received 757
Trudeau will jump right into the job Monday when Parliament returns after a two-week break. His party will also get to work trying to turn the some 300,000 new members and supporters who signed up during the leadership race into active participants in the party’s rebuilding process.
“My friends, this is the last stop of this campaign, but it is the very first stop of the next one,” Trudeau said to cheers.
While Canadians are still two years away from an election, recent polls show Liberals on a steady upward trajectory since Trudeau announced his intention to enter the race last fall.
Recent polls suggest Trudeau would lead the Liberals to victory over the Tories if an election were held today.
“Canadians want to be led, not ruled. They are tired of the negative, divisive politics of Mr. Harper's Conservatives, and unimpressed that the NDP, under Mr. Mulcair, have decided that if you can’t beat them, you might as well join them,” Trudeau said.
"We are fed up with leaders who pit Canadians against Canadians, West against East, rich against poor, Quebec against the rest of the country, urban against rural and any other division that you can find in this country. Canadians are looking to us, my friends."
Prior to the announcement, former prime minister Jean Chretien told the crowd that, “Under a new Liberal leader, the best is yet to come.”
Later Chretien declared: “Today marks the beginning of the end of this Conservative government.”
Former interim leader Bob Rae also addressed the crowd and referred to Prime Minister Stephen Harper as “the interim prime minister.”
Shortly after Trudeau’s victory was announced, the Conservative party issued a statement offering congratulations to the new Liberal leader, and then accused him of lacking experience.
"Justin Trudeau may have a famous last name, but in a time of global economic uncertainty, he doesn't have the judgment or experience to be prime minister," said Conservative spokesperson Fred DeLorey.
Political analysts say that while Trudeau has the potential to alter the Canadian political landscape, the change would mainly come at the expense of the NDP.
“Where the Liberals and Justin Trudeau have the advantage is they can say: ‘We represent change that isn’t scary,’” Gerry Nicholls told CTV’s Question Period on Sunday. “We have a leader that has a last name that everyone is familiar with. We have a party that people are comfortable with and we have a leader who, let’s face it, is as cute as a button.”
Nicholls said while Harper doesn’t have the “star power” Trudeau enjoys, his strength lies in his economic record.
“(Harper) can go to Canadians and say: ‘Look, I’m the confident economic manager and that’s what we need as we head into the rough economic waters. We need someone who can be trusted to handle the economy.’ And that’s a message that resonates certainly with the Conservatives party base,” Nicholls said.
In Quebec, where the NDP won 58 of the province’s 75 seats in the 2011 election, the Liberals have the potential to gain significant influence, according to political analyst Jean Lapierre.
“Those NDP members that were elected here … haven’t really created any traction for themselves,” he said.
In his speech, Trudeau spoke directly to Quebecers, asking them to set aside the old debates over sovereignty and to join him in rebuilding the party.
"The time has come for us to write a new chapter in the history of our country," he exhorted.
"Let's leave to others the old quarrels and old debates that lead nowhere. Let's leave to others the ultra-partisan rhetoric and the old ways of doing politics."
Lapierre pointed out that the Liberals have much work ahead of them to rebuild the party, which was reduced to a mere 34 seats in 2011. But, he said, “I don’t think (Trudeau) can do that by himself.”
Former leadership candidate Marc Garneau, who dropped out of the race last month, said he is ready to help repair the Liberal brand. In an interview with CTV News Channel, Garneau reiterated the pledge he made when he quit the race to be a “loyal soldier” for the next leader.
“We have a leader now who inspires Canadians, who speaks to hope, who is bringing in a lot of people who were perhaps cynical. This is a great moment for the Liberal party,” Garneau told CTV’s Kevin Newman.
“I will pour my heart and soul into the Liberal Party and do what my leader wants me to do.”
For the vote tally, the party gave all 308 ridings equal weight at 100 points. Points were awarded to each candidate according to their share of the votes.
Of 30,800 points available, Trudeau won with 24,668.
Trudeau told CTV that when he first saw his winning numbers, his first thought went not to his wife, his kids or his late father, but to his campaign volunteers who “pulled it off.
“I am just amazed at how hard Canadians right across this country have worked to try to put forward a different kind of politics.”