I experienced a little Trudeaumania today—as in Federal Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau- when he dropped by John F. Kennedy High School in St. Michel for the inauguration of a new student support centre bearing his late father’s name. The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Student Support Centre will provide comprehensive support service to all students, Secondary I through V. It is designed to provide additional assistance to students who request this help or for those who are referred by school staff.
Now I should say that I have used this headline in previous articles about Justin and he has personally shared with me that he is not crazy about the comparative wording used for his late dad, our former Prime Minister. However, when you see the reaction when Justin shows up to speak the excitement in the audience is overwhelming.
This all started well before Justin went into active politics as the Member of Parliament for East End Papineau in 2008. His memorable speech at his dad’s funeral made him an instant icon. We all knew he was destined for politics, even when he began his vocational career as a high school teacher in British Columbia. Now he is preparing to run for Prime Minister of Canada. The next federal election in October 2015 will be one amazing race to watch: incumbent PM Stephen Harper,charismatic NDP leader Tom Mulcair and Trudeau.
Following a brief ceremony to unveil a plaque in the student support centre, Justin headed to the auditorium where an excited room full of students greeted him with a rousing ovation.
Now this school is situated in his Papineau constituency, so he has made previous visits. Following a few opening remarks he invited students to ask questions and they did on a variety of topics.
Justin said that it is good news the PQ is no longer in power. “I was worried by the way the PQ was going about trying to win an election by creating division and stoking fear,” he declared. “The politics of identity and division were rejected. People also did not want another referendum or the threat of one. I do not believe that the best way to protect the French language and culture is separating from Canada.”
Thursday, April 17 will mark the 32nd anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “Madame Marois’ divisive plan would not have passed mustard around the Charter of Rights,” he said. “Her plan would have ended up in the courts. It works out much better that this was resolved at the ballot box.”
Ottawa has become Justin’s main home now. It makes sense given his major travel schedule. He and his wife Sophie have three young children ages six, five and six weeks. “I resisted this job as leader for a long time,” he said. “But I looked at the way the federal government was running things and I decided that this is the best way I can help my family and the country.”