UVic Young Liberals host MP Justin Trudeau for question-and-answer session

Papineau, Quebec MP Justin Trudeau sidestepped questions about whether he would one day be interested in leading the Liberal Party

Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau

Papineau, Quebec MP Justin Trudeau sidestepped questions Tuesday about whether he would one day be interested in leading the Liberal Party, preferring instead to implore young people to vote and make a difference.

“I only get to be a politician or eventually perhaps a good leader if I’m also making sure I’m a good dad because that makes me a better person,” the son of former prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau told more than 100 people, from students to seniors, who gathered inside the University of Victoria’s Student Union Building for the event organized by UVic’s Young Liberals.

He also spent part of his day-long visit to the area with family, including his maternal grandmother who lives in the Royal Oak neighbourhood of Saanich.

“And to manage that balance between family and the kinds of responsibilities that would have me criss-crossing the country as much as the next Liberal Party leader will have to do, I don’t know that I can pull that off and be the person that I want to be. That’s why I’ve said no up to this point,” he added.

The federal Liberals, who he acknowledged were “thoroughly drubbed” in last year’s federal election, won’t take a hard look at party leadership until this fall.

“For the past 10 years we’ve been so focused on who gets to drive the car that we weren’t paying attention to the fact that the car was heading over the edge of the cliff,” Trudeau said.

Many young people in the audience expressed frustration, as well as curiosity, on several fronts: the Conservative government’s mandate, the robocall scandal, attack ads, electoral reform, proportional representation and elected senates, among other topics.

Still, the dialogue often circled back to the importance of young adults casting ballots.

Thirty-five per cent of young people aged 18 to 25 voted in the 2011 federal election, Trudeau said.

“I love that you’re willing to camp out in a town square. I love that you’re willing to sign a petition,” the Liberal Party critic for Youth, Citizenship and Immigration said. “For Christ’s sake, vote.”

Making it easier to vote is crucial, but online voting is not the answer, said Trudeau.

“I think it’s something you have to take seriously, and if you can roll off your couch in your sagging tighty-whiteys and type a couple of (computer) keys and vote, bleary-eyed on a Saturday morning, then you know what? You’re taking away a little bit of the sense of the momentousness and the importance of the right to vote that people are losing their hands for in Africa and people are dying for in some of the Arab countries.”

When asked by fourth year UVic psychology student Zoe Staples about voter apathy, Trudeau said people are frustrated, and that, in turn, has led to cynicism.

She said Trudeau’s message resonated with her.

“You don’t change people’s minds by telling them what to think, or telling them what you think or telling them why your way is right,” said Staples, a member of UVic’s Young Liberals. “It’s getting at what actually matters … that really tugs at the heart strings.”

Letting young adults know they have an important role to play is key, Trudeau told The News.

“Yes, young people can be cynical and apathetic from time to time, but it’s a reflection of how much they care and are frustrated they don’t get to have an impact,” he said, adding that many are already involved in their communities, while others demonstrate a keen willingness.

We just have to show them how to tap into that in concrete ways.”

 

 

Just Posted

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

North Saanich advisor says initiative supports urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

General manager Lindsey Pomper says Sidney’s Star Cinema cannot wait welcome audiences when it reopens June 18, amid an easing of public health measures. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain for the first time after months in the darkness

Iconic theatre to reopen at half capacity for Friday night showing

A dogs in parks pilot study unanimously approved by Saanich council will evaluate how park space can best be shared between dog owners and non-owners alike. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Saanich to study park-sharing strategy between those with and without pets

District-wide People, Parks and Dogs study to produce recommendations by fall

Staff member Lena Laitinen gives the wall at BoulderHouse a workout during a media tour on June 16. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
BoulderHouse raring to rock Langford

Popularity of bouldering continues to climb across Greater Victoria

GardenWorks nursery in Oak Bay at its home until August. (Black Press Media file photo)
GardenWorks puts down new roots in Oak Bay this summer

Nursery shifts down The Avenue to fill former fitness studio space

The BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Metchosin saw 16 fawns come through in May, with another four in the first four days of June. (Courtesy Wild ARC)
An abandoned fawn doesn’t mean it’s orphaned, reminds Greater Victoria wildlife expert

20 orphaned fawns turned in to Wild ARC in Metchosin so far this season

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read