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Justin Trudeau

Contents
1 Who Are These People? 2 The Crowd Effect 3 The No-Policy Policy 4 The Campaign Machine 5 Close to Home 6 Sticks and Stones 7 Whos the Boss
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Who Are These People?

Pierre Trudeau was obviously in a reflective mood in October 1983 as his limousine sped through rural roads en route to an evening appearance in Strathroy, Ont. When he arrived at his destination, the prime minister shared some of his inner thoughts with his audience. There was acre upon acre of farmland and all we could see though I pressed my forehead against the cold window all we could see were little lights here and there. And I was wondering: what kind of people lived in these houses? And what kind of people worked in this part of Canada? And lived and loved here? The Ottawa journalists travelling with Trudeau didnt know what to make of this speech. Globe and Mail columnist Michael Valpy would call it one of the most unusual speeches a prime minister of Canada has given, and told his readers of a 20-minutelong, almost trance-like stream of consciousness. Trudeaus flight of fancy, though, was also a glimpse into a style of politics that kept a wall between the elected and the electors. Here was a man who had been in power for the better part of two decades and only now, at the end of his tenure, was struggling to see the connection between himself and the people who had voted for him. I felt that my job in a sense is not all that different from the jobs that most of you have those of you who have jobs, because I know there are those who are unemployed too. It is to start in the morning, and work at things, and hope to get them finished by 6 or 7 when you can get home and see your family, and then often enough to work again after (seeing your family), as I know you do. Trudeau was indeed describing his own routine, which included making time at 24 Sussex Dr. each evening for his three boys,
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Justin, then nearly 12, Sacha, nearly 10, and Michel, 8.

Pierre Trudeau with his sons in 1979 (Photo: Courtesy Trudeau family)

At one point in the speech, Trudeau seemed to shake himself out of the trance, if only to apologize to his audience for the offscript performance. I feel Im not living up to your expectations, he said. Because speeches, if youve ever heard me give them, are a few notes higher, a little shriller and they roll a little more. And just to show he was still fluent in politico-speak, he mimicked himself in full rhetorical flight. Then: But that isnt the way I feel like talking to you tonight. What prompted this strange, emotive display? Was it a sorrowful look back on a road not taken, a journey he should have embarked upon years earlier, to better know all those people whom he had led for the better part of two decades before this night? Trudeau resigned about four months later, after a walk in the snow, on Feb. 29, 1984. The job of closing the distance between the
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electorate and this Liberal politician was thus bequeathed to future generations of politicians, and one in particular his eldest son, Justin Trudeau. Flash forward almost exactly 30 years from those waning days of Pierre Trudeaus reign, and zoom in on London, Ont., not that far from the Strathroy roads where the former prime minister took his journey of the soul. For many decades, Londons demographics were seen as perfect for product-testing the first McDonalds in Canada, the first bank machines, the first cable-TV station were all rolled out in London before being unleashed on the public at large. At Western University on this particular day in early 2013, a crowd of about 400 students is packed into the Spoke pub, and the stage is festooned in Liberal red. People are jostling each other to make more room in the pub; some students are complaining that they cant get near the counter to grab lunch. But its not a food product being tested in London today its actually a bit of a product rebrand. On Feb. 7, 2013, Justin Trudeau, now 41, is the cause of the stir at Western. Trudeaus poster is plastered all over the building. Redshirted volunteers are fussing with the sound system. Trudeau is stopping here at noon as part of a typically frenetic day on his campaign to become Liberal leader to fill the shoes of his famous father. It is there that the parallels end. Where his father ascended to the leadership at an old-fashioned, brokered convention in 1968, his son has to win followers one by one, in an often chaotic, oneperson/one-vote contest. Where his dad walked simultaneously into the jobs of Liberal leader and prime minister when he won, inheriting a healthy party and the reins of power in Canada, Justin Trudeau is vying for a damaged prize a party knocked down to
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third place in the 2011 election and with its future existence far from certain. And where his father could lead a country apart and removed from his voters, this is not an option available to his eldest son in the manner of 21st-century politics. Pierre Trudeau peered at voters from behind the glass of his prime-ministerial limousine and wondered what they loved and how they lived. Leadership for him had been an abstract, intellectual exercise. Justin Trudeau wouldnt have that luxury. If he wins the job his dad once had, he will have to get out from behind the glass, plunge right into the populace and acquaint himself with all those voters face to face, one by one, on the ground and across vast socialmedia networks. The story of that campaign, and the man who is at the centre of it, tells us a lot about how politics, the Liberal party and Trudeaus have changed since the 1980s.

The Crowd Effect

It is impossible to understand Justin Trudeaus campaign for Liberal leader without seeing and appreciating the size of the crowds. They are everywhere. They are like some underground army, lurking undetected by the political class and suddenly emerging from its hiding places to flood into food courts and community halls across the country. They show up in the interior of British Columbia, where the name Trudeau has usually evoked memories of the Salmon Arm salute the one-finger greeting that Pierre Trudeau offered the demonstrators who pelted his railway car with tomatoes during a 1981 visit. During a visit with a 600-plus crowd in Kelowna, someone asks Justin what he learned from his father. He quips: When in the B.C. interior, wave with your whole hand. They show up in Winnipeg, at 10 p.m. on a Friday night, in a suburban community hall a good 20 minutes from the downtown core. You are sure, as you pull into the parking lot, that this will be like other town hall political meetings in this day and age: several dozen solid citizens, many of them with white hair, earnestly turning up to raise pet concerns with a politician. Instead, its an old-fashioned party. A few hundred Winnipeggers of all ages are filling the room, waiting for Trudeau to make an appearance. When he arrives, hes mobbed, and he shakes the hand of every person who rushes up to him. The Liberal volunteers who have been traipsing around with Trudeau over the previous days in rural Manitoba say the scene has been familiar everywhere they cant remember a Liberal getting a greeting like this in many years, maybe never. In a mall in Cambridge, Ont., a winter blizzard threatens in ear7

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ly February. People are being advised to hunker down and stay off the roads. This time, you think, no one will show up its become kind of a test; there must be something that keeps the Trudeau army underground. But in the food court, as the appointed hour of his arrival looms, the crowd forms again. Theyre here again in the hundreds, waiting to shake Trudeaus hand. Generally, the crowds are a demographic mix of three groups: older people, seniors and near-seniors who remember Trudeaumania of the 1970s; younger people who have a dim recollection of Pierre Trudeau, but know Justin from the media; and new Canadians, 1970s-era immigrants and their children.

Justin Trudeau with a young fan (Photo: Vince Talotta/Toronto Star)

The long-time Liberals in the crowds, the ones who have stuck through the party in its darkest hours, are often among the most puzzled. They sidle up to the reporter passing through their town,
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they make a remark or two about the unusual size of the crowd, and then they invariably confess: they werent sure about this guy; whats all the fuss about? But then they point to the people they used to see at meetings; the lapsed Liberals lining up for a chance to meet Trudeau. And they shrug: who can argue with this raw measure of success? This happens at nearly every one of the two dozen or so stops that this writer attended. However it may seem on the surface, this isnt a love-at-first-sight story between Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party. After his father left office in 1984 and moved the family to Montreal, Trudeau didnt have much to do with the Liberals or politics. He got his Bachelor of Arts degree at McGill University, a degree in education at the University of British Columbia, and then spent a decade trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. He taught high school for a few years in B.C., dabbled in snowboard instruction, started and abandoned a couple of other degrees and served as chair of the Katimavik youth-volunteer program founded by his father (but killed in the 2012 budget). There were the rare public appearances with his family, often on the steps of a church: in the wake of the heart-wrenching death of brother Michel in an avalanche accident in 1998, and then of the 2000 death of Pierre Trudeau himself, an event of nation-wide mourning that saw Justin, then 28, take the stage to deliver a dramatic eulogy. There was a happier occasion too: his wedding to Sophie Grgoire in Montreal in 2005. It wasnt until 2006, when the Liberals were dumped from power and Prime Minister Stephen Harpers Conservative reign began, that Trudeau started to show an active interest in getting involved with Liberal politics. He signed up with the Speakers Spotlight bureau and began to pull in a hefty income from speaking engage9

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ments. In May that year, while the party was still licking its wounds from defeat, an organization known as Canada 2020 held a big conference at Mont Tremblant, specifically billed as an exercise in revitalizing the progressive side of the spectrum. Though it was an event laden with Liberals former cabinet ministers John Manley and Anne McLellan served as co-chairs technically this wasnt supposed to be a partisan event. So there was some wincing in the crowd when Trudeau tried his hand at speaking out during the conference, proclaiming that attendees should aim to find what it takes to take over this country once again and make sure we are moving in the right direction. Take over the country? Again? He might as well have waved a red flag in the face of the newly elected Conservative government. It was ample evidence that he wasnt yet ready for prime time. Later that same year, during the Liberal leadership race, Trudeau emerged to some peoples surprise as a supporter of former Ontario education minister Gerard Kennedy, giving his nomination speech at the Montreal convention. Trudeau had met Kennedy through his old friend Gerald Butts, who had worked at Queens Park as a principal secretary to Premier Dalton McGuinty. Butts and Trudeau had been the best of friends since their days at McGill University in the 1990s. Butts was at Trudeaus side when he wrote the famous eulogy for his fathers funeral a public debut that some found touching but others found cloying and overdramatic. A decade or so later, Trudeau can still provoke that polarized kind of reaction among his listeners. Also in Kennedys camp in 2006 were some of the people who would go on to become members of Trudeaus own leadership quest seven years later including, notably, Katie Telford, who was Kennedys chief of staff and his national campaign director for the 2006 bid.
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Trudeau had asked to meet with Telford before the convention when he decided to back Kennedy. The got together for coffee and fell into a lively discussion about the issue of recognizing Quebec as a nation a hot topic at the time. Trudeau rattled off all the arguments hed been reading in the papers and the conversations hed been holding with people. Telford hadnt known what to expect when she met Trudeau for the first time, but clearly, despite her best efforts at a poker face, she displayed some surprise. As Trudeau was leaving the restaurant, he looked over his shoulder, smiled and quipped: Im not quite what you thought I was, am I? When Kennedy followed through on his deal to back former environment and intergovernmental affairs minister Stphane Dion in subsequent ballots at the Montreal convention in December 2006 thus sealing Dions unexpected victory over front-runners Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae Trudeau climbed aboard too. Im pleased, Trudeau told reporters after Dion won. Ive always said about Stphane Dion and Gerard Kennedy that theyre the best hope for the country. Not long after the convention, Trudeau told his friend Dsire McGraw that they should both start actively seeking nominations to be Montreal MPs, that it was time for generational change in the party. McGraw, then 37, already had nearly 20 years experience in the public policy spotlight. Just out of high school in the 1980s, she had gone on a cross-country trek with other teenagers to argue for arms control. She had then gone on to be a lecturer and advocate on the environment, one of a couple of dozen people trained by former U.S. vice-president Al Gore himself to spread his Inconvenient Truth environmental presentation throughout Canada. McGraw had also worked closely with Paul Martin and his government, as an adviser and an aide, but she returned to her Montreal base after the 2006 defeat.
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Both McGraw and Trudeau discovered that the Liberal party was not as welcoming as they had hoped when they tried to break into elected politics. McGraw, the mother of young children, reluctantly abandoned the effort, but her friend persisted. Trudeau had initially wanted to run in Outremont, a safe Liberal enclave, but the new leader, Dion, balked at that prospect. A series of similarly unhelpful discussions followed with Liberal officials, until Trudeau decided on his own to take his chances in Papineau, a struggling riding in Montreal that had been held by the Bloc Qubcois since 2006. Whats more, he had to battle for the Liberal nomination against a popular city councillor from the riding, Mary Deros. Still, he won the nomination in late April 2007. When it became apparent that the Liberals were stuck with this Trudeau guy whether they liked it or not, he was summoned to an unusual meeting in the Opposition leaders office, which felt a bit like an old-fashioned star chamber. Inside the old cabinet room on the fourth floor of Centre Block, Trudeau was seated all by himself on one side of the huge boardroom table, while across from him was an array of Liberal policy advisers, ready to test his knowledge of policy and the issues. This didnt bother him, apparently. It was just the kind of situation he enjoyed, a habitat that had become familiar to him. Here were the sage minds of the Liberal party, determined to prove he was a lightweight, and he was determined to prove them wrong. One of the things I remember was just how incredibly delighted I was to be there, Trudeau recalls. I mean, here I get to sit down across from really smart, mostly young folks who are deeply grounded in both politics and a subject area that they are passionate about. And we are to exchange for about three hours on just about every topic. And I got along with everyone, and I loved that ability to go deep into some fairly obscure but fascinating elements.
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He won at least one convert from across the table that day: policy aide Michael McNair, who would become a policy adviser on Trudeaus core leadership team. Trudeau went on to win Papineau in 2008, taking a seat away from the Bloc Qubcois, winning over his detractors one by one, at the doorstep, on the street corners. He did it while many other Liberals were losing their seats, and then he did it again in 2011, when the party was reduced to third-place rubble and Harper won his much-coveted majority. Immediately after the election, though, he called Butts and said he was thinking of packing it in. Butts told him to sit tight, that as he saw for himself how the Conservatives functioned with a majority government, he might see how badly he wanted to defeat them. If Trudeau was out of politics, hed regret giving up the fight. But Trudeau said he definitely wasnt interested in running for the leadership; it was too early in his political career for that move. He spread the word among family and friends who were like family that a quest for the Liberal leadership wasnt in the cards for now. Dominic LeBlanc is the son of former governor-general Romeo LeBlanc, who served as fisheries minister in Pierre Trudeaus cabinet. Like Justin, his parents were separated when he was young, and like the Trudeau boys, the LeBlanc children spent the weekdays with their dad and weekends with their mother. LeBlancs mother, Joslyn LeBlanc, lived on Stanley Avenue in the Ottawa neighbourhood of New Edinburgh, just a block away from Margaret Trudeaus home on Victoria St. So young Dominic and the Trudeau boys would often hang out together on the weekends or head together to Mont Tremblant for ski trips. LeBlanc worked in Jean Chrtiens PMO but then became an MP in his own right in the election of November 2000 a position hes held ever since, despite the ups and downs of Liberal fortunes, which have left him the last Liberal MP standing in his home prov13

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ince. A possessor of a dark, even wicked sense of humour, LeBlanc will joke when he sees a lone chair at an event: Look, a place for the New Brunswick caucus to meet. LeBlanc was almost a leadership candidate himself after Dion stepped down in the wake of the 2008 election. But eventually LeBlanc and Rae stood aside to make way for Ignatieff to be named leader uncontested a decision the party now largely regrets. LeBlanc also mused again about running for the leadership after the 2011 election, but no one seriously believed he would be a candidate if it meant running against his childhood chum. LeBlanc and Trudeau had breakfast at Ottawas Sheraton hotel in the immediate aftermath of the 2011 election rout, and Trudeau told him, unequivocally, that he wouldnt be a candidate in the race to succeed Ignatieff. Trudeau shared that decision with the public too, along with a gentle rebuke to all those messiah-complex Liberals who wanted him to run simply because of his last name. There has been an expectation that if we just pick the right person at the top, everything is going to be fixed, Trudeau said in an interview with CBC-TV. Because of the history packaged into my name, a lot of people are turning to me in a way that actually, to be blunt, concerns me. And that, for a little while at least, was that. But then came a flurry of events in early 2012 in particular, the now-famous boxing match between Trudeau and Sen. Patrick Brazeau. The idea for the boxing match came to Trudeau almost as a lark: it would be a way to mark his entry into his fifth decade. In the weeks before he turned 40 on Dec. 25, 2011, he got himself a Haida-image tattoo on his shoulder and became seized with the idea of going a few rounds in the boxing ring against a formidable opponent. A bucket-list thing, he called it, though he didnt let
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his friends in on his plans. He started looking around for possible Conservative contenders, even sounding out Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Alberta MP Rob Anders about whether they were interested. Brazeau, a former head of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, a then-37-year-old martial arts expert and former military reservist, was the one who accepted the challenge. Three years younger than Trudeau, three pounds heavier, Brazeau seemed delighted at the prospect of punching a Liberal in the face. The two set the date for their match on March 31, 2012, and the event would be a fundraiser for cancer.

Justin Trudeau and Patrick Brazeau (Photos: Courtesy Media Ball)

In the lead-up to the boxing match, Trudeau was cast as the underdog, a lightweight up against the brute strength of Brazeau, who had been trash-talking his opponent (and Liberals) in the weeks before the event. But in the ring itself, Brazeaus strength and bravado withered in minutes. Trudeau, defying the oddsmakers, triumphed in the third round with a resounding pummelling
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and knockout of Brazeau. More than mere entertainment, Trudeau had given the chattering classes of Ottawa something far more precious a metaphor. I proved a Liberal can take a punch, he told reporters after the match. The headlines wrote themselves. Just watch him: Trudeau victorious, the Globe announced. Justin Trudeau proves hes no political lightweight, Saskatoons StarPhoenix declared. It was an intriguing headline a few weeks later, though, which more or less foretold the imminent future for Trudeau and his party. It came from a cover story in Macleans by Paul Wells. Justin Trudeau should be the next leader of the Liberal party. No, seriously. Suddenly, Trudeaus ruled-out leadership ambitions were back in active speculation, and he didnt seem to be doing anything to quash that line of inquiry. There was a reason for that. Trudeau had already told his good friend Butts months earlier even before the Brazeau fight that he was reconsidering his decision to sit out the leadership race. Hed been looking out on the bleak landscape for Liberals as 2011 wore on and was starting to fear that there might not even be a party there by the time he got around to running for the job. He was in despair over the funereal atmosphere hanging over the party. Butts and Telford, after a discreet meeting with Trudeau at Barootes restaurant on Torontos King St. W. in early 2012, had already started initial planning to put Trudeau into the race and create a skeleton organization. But this was all still a draft plan Trudeau would have to seriously talk this over with his family. He now had two very young children, Xavier, then 4, and Ella-Grace, then nearly 2. And just as all this was simmering beneath the surface, it was now far from clear that Rae, the interim leader, would simply trade the temporary post for a permanent one, as most Liberal-watchers
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had expected. Sure enough, Rae announced in June that he was abandoning any bid for the permanent leadership of the Liberal party, and after that, it was just a matter of time before Trudeau and his team got busy trying to turn the Macleans headline into a reality. Butts is very much the right-hand man in this adventure. He is a Cape Bretoner from Glace Bay, N.S., the son of a coal miner and a nurse, whose friendship with Trudeau stretches back to their undergraduate days. Their alliance endured in the subsequent years, even as Trudeau moved around the country and Butts became part of the inner circle of power in McGuintys Ontario, and then the head of the World Wildlife Fund Canada (a job he had to leave while running the Trudeau leadership). Butts, who boasts a powerful intellect and an impressive network of influential friends, is someone who has known Trudeau long enough to be brutally honest with him. They are much alike on a number of counts, even physically. Theyre both tall fellows with unruly hair and an arch, sometimes savage sense of humour. Butts is more of an introvert than Trudeau, but that puts him in the large majority of the population. They like to argue, Trudeau says, over everything from Oxford commas to the proper use of the word humbled. Thinking objectively about Gerry is like thinking objectively about myself, Trudeau says. We bounce off each other really, really well . . . Every now and then we encourage ourselves, each other, in the wrong direction, which is why we do need counterpoint around us. Enter Telford, the campaign manager a job rarely done by women in politics, especially women with young families. Telford gets prickly about being asked her age, believing its a meaningless way of describing a person. So lets just say shes under 40, married
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to Liberal lawyer and strategist Rob Silver, and mother to George, born in June 2011. The common biographical thread among Trudeau, Butts, Telford and Silver, beyond their Queens Park experience, is their shared history on the university debating circuit. Trudeau joined the debating society at McGill with Butts and, though he wasnt as immersed in it as his friend, they did go on some memorable road trips, including one to Princeton University in a snowstorm, to take part in debating championships. Butts was president of the Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate in 1992-93; Silver held that same post seven years later. Telford, a member of the English Debating Society at the University of Ottawa, met Silver at a debate competition at Western University.

Gerald Butts, Katie Telford and others (Photo: Adam Scotti/Courtesy Justin
Trudeau)

One of the reasons that Telford doesnt like to talk about her age is probably because so many other people found it relevant when
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Trudeau chose her as his campaign manager. Trudeau took a lot of flak from the old guard of the Liberal party, especially in Quebec, because he had chosen a young, virtually unknown woman from Toronto a triple knock against her. A lot of the usual suspects called up and said, No, no, no, Trudeau recalled. (They said,) You need someone grown-up in charge, you need someone with a steady hand. Theres a little trick to dealing with Trudeau, which people soon learn if theyre working with him for any amount of time. Dont tell him hes not allowed to do something. Give him a problem to solve instead. If, for instance, you want Trudeau to cease wearing flipflops with his business attire yes, a fashion crime he has been known to commit its a waste of time to say that it isnt allowed. Far better to ask him to assess what may be causing people to view his wardrobe as eccentric. Hell soon fix it himself. So, no surprise, Trudeau pushed back when the Liberal party vets started telling him to find himself a more seasoned (read: older male) campaign manager. Many months later, he would tell a group of multiculturalcommunity activists in London, Ont., that his choice of Telford was a very deliberate poke in the nose of tired, old thinking in the Liberal party. He boasted that his core team was filled with young parents of, collectively, 25 to 30 children under the age of 7. We have no time for the fights and the navel-gazing that has led the party to the place it is now, he said. When I chose my friend Katie to run the campaign, there were a lot of the backroom types who felt that I made a terrible mistake because there were a lot of other people in the party who had proven their worth and could help me properly. But the Liberal Party has gone from 170 seats in 2000 to 135 in the election after that to 100 to 77 to 35. I mean, its a straight decline. Something had to change. Telford is a petite, soft-spoken woman with a get-down-to19

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business demeanour tempered by an easy laugh which comes in handy when dealing with Butts and Trudeau. Katie is the grown-up around me and Gerry, Trudeau says. Shes the one who is exceedingly well-organized and she thinks things through in a really far-seeing and broad way. She thinks about the deeper consequences when Gerry and I are trying to outsmart each other. Trudeau says that he and Butts need a boss, and that is Telfords role. Certainly on everything that is campaign and organization, she constantly fights against people who dont take her seriously, who belittle her, who say they can do a better job and not just men, not just older men, but everyone. And its been a great reminder to me of the challenges that were still facing in changing politics as a culture. Having Telford in charge actually inoculates the Trudeau campaign against falling into the same old patterns of doing politics, says Trudeau. She brings an essential perspective to the campaign in terms of the temptation to revert to a kind of clubbiness, an old boys network, and she is so good at reminding us that is not who we are. I mean its not hard to get us back away from that, but shes really, really sensitive to that as well. Over the summer of 2012, the campaign organization kept coming together, but it was still provisional. Trudeau was leaning strongly toward going for the leadership, but he still hadnt totally made up his mind. More important, neither had Grgoire. The final decision came for the couple on the last weekend of July, when the core team, hand-selected by Butts, Telford and Trudeau, descended on the Mont Tremblant resort north of Montreal for a weekend of strategizing in chalets near the golf course. This was no holiday; Butts and Telford had loaded up the week20

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end with sessions on fundraising and organization, and seminars in the modern art of campaigning in the social-media universe. About a couple of dozen people were there many, like Telford and Trudeau, came with their young families. Trudeaus brother Sacha was there too. Tom Pitfield, who had grown up almost as a younger brother to Justin his father, Michael Pitfield, was a privy council clerk to Pierre Trudeau had found the spot for the group to meet. Pitfield was taking a leading role in the vast digital operations of the leadership campaign, and he was there with his wife, Anna Gainey, and children, their family probably the closest friends of Trudeau and Grgoire. Former Mississauga MPs Navdeep Bains and Omar Alghabra were among the group, both of them having spent a bit of time in previous months trying to persuade Trudeau to run. There were ad experts on hand and an array of Liberals who had done some work on election strategy or policy in the past. It was the first time this eclectic group had gathered in one spot; if nothing else, it was a chance to see whether they would gel as a team. To open the meeting, Butts and Telford asked all the participants to say why they were there. Their reasons ranged from the tactical to the deeply emotional; they talked about their desire to keep the Liberal party alive and about reversing the trend of cynicism and negativity toward politics. Over the weekend, they had a hard talk, too, about the notion of co-operation or merger with the New Democrats or other progressive parties as the best way to defeat the Conservatives. This sparked a spirited conversation around the table and a sentiment that found its way into Trudeaus repeated public declarations on the subject later. My goal is not to replace Mr. Harper with a different government, Trudeau would say. Its to replace Mr. Harper with a better government. This oft-repeated line came directly from the discussion at Tremblant, Telford said later.
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At the end of gathering, Butts and Telford addressed the whole group again and asked them to summon up their best advice for Trudeau as he had to make a final decision on whether to run. Around the table they went, each making their own appeal. This time at Mont Tremblant, unlike a few years earlier, Trudeau wasnt talking about taking back power. Trudeau had known as he arrived at Mont Tremblant that he was leaning heavily in the direction of running for leader, but he also realized that his wife had to be convinced. Sophie was still at that point, not so much worried, but a little bit skeptical about how it would all unfold, he recalled. Grgoire, like many political spouses, represents the final word for her husband in matters of personal relations and perspective. He invokes her name often when talking about decisions hes made, whether its entering the boxing ring or the Liberal leadership contest. I have a tendency to put things back into perspective, ask questions, juggle with the balls to make sure that the game or the decision or the moment makes sense, Grgoire explains. Candidly, she admits that she had worried about the relative youth of the campaign team, and whether it could do with some seasoned advisers. Over the course of the weekend at Tremblant, she was persuaded that this was the right group. It struck her, in fact, as they were all gathered around an outdoor fireplace after a long day of sorting campaign logistics. I think it was that moment, Grgoire said. When people were just simply being themselves, and we were all looking at each other and chatting about life and about politics and about everything around the fire outside. And it was just, like, Yep, this is going to work. A little nudge from Butts didnt hurt either. He looked at her, taking it all in, and said: Soph, so this is going to be fun too, you
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know that. She laughed. Thanks for reminding me. The official launch came on the first week of October, starting in Papineau, where Grgoire introduced him to the crowd, a blend of riding stalwarts and veterans of the Pierre Trudeau years, such as former finance minister Marc Lalonde and Andr Ouellet. Subsequent launches, notably in Mississauga a few days later, were jammed with the kind of crowds that would become fixtures of this leadership campaign. It had been a long time since the party had seen something like this. Though Trudeau was constantly compared to his father throughout the leadership campaign, there are comparisons to make, too, to other leaders of the Liberal party. It is hard not to see, for instance, some parallels to the juggernaut of Paul Martins leadership campaign a decade earlier. (Full disclosure: I wrote a book with that title about that Liberal leadership adventure.) Like Martins team, Trudeaus core camp is made up of people who all see themselves as outsiders to the old Liberal establishment, whose candidate is often viewed as a blank slate upon which to write future hopes for change and mass victory. Martin, we might remember, was also seen as a dauphin, following in the footsteps of Paul Martin Sr., veteran cabinet minister and repeated leadership hopeful through the 1950s and 1960s. Martins team, like Trudeaus, had multiple media-savvy spokespeople and no clear hierarchy or separation of duties. Indeed, some of Martins most senior supporters, including former campaign director David Herle and B.C. strategist Bruce Young, were at that initial meeting at Tremblant in the summer of 2012. And like Martin, Trudeau is promising to change the way poli23

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tics is practised, to bring the fresh air of democracy into the dusty Liberal backrooms a promise that didnt exactly pan out for Martin when he finally got to be prime minister. Trudeau rejects the precise parallels, arguing that his commitment to change politics runs deeper than it did for Martin. He says that his campaign is already practising the kind of democratic openness he intends to pursue as leader and maybe even someday as prime minister. Funnily enough, even as he issues this denial, Trudeau accidentally lapses into Martin-speak specifically the former prime ministers fondness for inserting very, very into his declarations for emphasis. I think that he (Martin) was very, very much focused on becoming prime minister for personal reasons, or for family reasons, Trudeau says. I am very, very, very focused on what would I do if I became prime minister, and the process of being on that path is every bit as important now as what I decide to start once I get there. So the way Im focused on winning in politics is going to be an intrinsic, essential part of what I actually do once Im there. Trudeau also believes this is the way in which he distinguishes himself from Jean Chrtien, who offered the candidate a benediction of sorts in late September 2012, days before Trudeau was getting ready to officially launch his campaign. Hes been elected twice so far, Chrtien pointed out. Its one more time than his father when he became the (Liberal) leader. The former prime minister, who had known Justin Trudeau as a young boy, then rattled off the list of all the people, including Harper, who had come to power with little cabinet experience. Only me had a lot of experience to become prime minister, he said. (Pierre) Trudeau was elected once and he became prime minister. I had to wait 30 years of hard work to get the job. Trudeau does believe that hes a different sort of politician from
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Chrtien, but it revolves around attitude, not experience, in his mind.

Jean Chrtien and Justin Trudeau in 2003 (Photo: Rick Madonik/Toronto Star)

The game focus of politics, for him its about, winning, Trudeau says. For me, its about serving. Its about building, its about doing right. Its not about the score. Its not to prove anything . . . We all know his background. He had a tremendous amount to prove and hes justifiably, extremely proud of what hes managed to build through his life, but the focus was on proving that to others, and for me thats not what this is about. So what is it all about then?

25

The No-Policy Policy

One thing is clear: Justin Trudeau has not drawn big crowds because of his bold policy pronouncements. Over the six months of the leadership contest, his campaign issued no more than a handful of broad, blue-sky policy statements and as of this writing no platform has been released. That has been the biggest knock against him, inside and outside the Liberal race. However, to the surprise of some, Trudeau has worn it as a badge of distinction. At Western University in early February, when a student asked how he was different from the other leadership contenders, Trudeau laid out the reasons he had chosen to be the no-policy candidate even if it did frustrate the pundits and his opponents. The big difference, to my mind, is in what we actually see as a need for the Liberal party to do, he said. My emphasis right now, rather than being on policy-development, like most of my colleagues, is on organization. It is on building the capacity to be relevant in every single riding across the country, folding people back, not just into the Liberal party, but actually into the political process. Trudeaus main point was that policy is the least of the Liberal partys worries at its current juncture. Naturally, this approach hasnt sat too well with the rest of the candidates, who grew increasingly vocal at each debate about the yawning policy void from the front-runner. Montreal MP Marc Garneau who later withdrew as a candidate made the biggest noise about it, especially at the Mississauga debate in mid-February. You have to have a track record, Garneau said in reference to his own long career in the military, as an engineer and as Canadas first astronaut. You have to have a record of making tough deci26

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sions, and often on your own. Trudeaus reply was a bit puzzling, almost a non-sequitur. When Garneau challenged him on what he had accomplished in his career, Trudeau shot back that he had won tough elections in Papineau. I did that by pulling people together in a riding that wasnt particularly inclined towards the Liberal party or towards me personally, Trudeau said. You have to have a record of winning, Marc. Wait a minute, though. Isnt this the candidate who said he was different from Jean Chrtien and Paul Martin on this winning-iseverything approach to politics? Trudeau and his campaign team are convinced that the Liberals have almost entirely lost touch with the electorate over the past 20 years, not the least because of those Byzantine Chrtien-Martin feuds. They are equally convinced that most Canadians, regardless of political stripe, are tuned out of politics altogether. On this, they are in agreement with Stephen Harpers Conservatives. Where they appear to differ with the Conservatives is on whether that trend can be reversed and how it can be handled. Harpers Conservatives have developed a sophisticated approach to break down the population into target constituencies, reachable through their wallets or policies specifically targeted at individuals interests. The Trudeau team, on the other hand, is gambling that mass-market politics can still work, but not with the big national-program attempts of another Trudeau era. The big mass market in their minds is the middle class, which Trudeau called the centrepiece of his bid to be leader. The middle class, like Canadian politics and the Liberal party, is not the force it was when his father was in office. It is truly gobsmacking to me that no politician in the last 15 years has picked up on the fact that the middle class hasnt had a (expletive deleted) raise in this country in three decades, says
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Butts. If you connect the dots, from his (Trudeaus) launch speech to his stump speech, and include all of the op-eds that hes published, its basically trying to flesh out that big picture, which is that the Liberal party used to be the party of upward mobility, of a strong work ethic, of equal opportunity, and thats the kind of party it needs to be again. Butts time in the premiers office in Ontario gave him a lot of lessons on the folly of big, bold policy pronouncements in this day and age. Actually, his most vivid instruction on this score came from across the Atlantic, while he was seeking out some advice from Tony Blairs Labour government in Britain. Butts, helping McGuinty lay out a governing agenda after he won power in 2003, went over to London to sit down at 10 Downing St. with some key members of Blairs inner circle. When the Blair folks were asked about mistakes they made, they talked about their big regret of their first term specifically all the bold policy pronouncements they had made in the Blair governments first 18 months of office. They had been naive to the complexity of modern governance. Merely by issuing this flurry of announcements and directives, Blairs officials expected Britain to change. But they told Butts that one day they stood up, looked around and realized that their levers of office werent attached to anything. Its not a bad metaphor for the Liberals and their current existential crisis. Over the past decade, the former natural governing party of Canada has suddenly realized that it, too, has become untethered from the levers of any influence with the population and most certainly now in Ottawa. That always stuck with me, Butts said of his experience in Britain. The days of governing effectively by fiat are over and by governing effectively, I mean actually making something happen out there in the country.
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Justin Trudeau

So, deliberately, the Trudeau campaigns policy pronouncements have been more broad statements of values: a commitment to ensuring that 70 per cent levels of post-secondary education are met; statements about the importance of foreign trade and investment in reviving middle-class fortunes in Canada. There is a policy shop inside the Trudeau organization, but it has flown mostly under the radar. The two national policy cochairs are Stephen Kukucha, a B.C. expert in the renewable-energy business and Trudeaus old friend Dsire McGraw. McGraw and Trudeau have known each other for years, but really got politically acquainted when they were handed tasks on the sprawling Liberal Renewal Commission in 2006. McGraw was in charge of reviving environmental policy for the party; Trudeau had the job of doing policy outreach to young people. The two would cross paths frequently during that exercise, not least because the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and the Jeanne Sauv Foundation, which McGraw heads, are housed in the same restored old building on Montreals Doctor Penfield Ave. Trudeau and McGraw, like many of the other chairs on the renewal commission, threw themselves into the effort, generating dozens and dozens of conversations and pages and pages of recommendations. It was ultimately a frustrating experience for both of them. In retrospect, McGraw doesnt believe the party was serious about renewal; it was preoccupied instead with holding its own in a precarious minority Parliament and, as always, the revolving leadership door. It was in hindsight sort of a window-dressing exercise, McGraw says. Thus dispirited about the Liberals failure to come to terms with defeat, McGraw confesses to having had some initial feelings of trepidation when she was asked by Butts last year to be policy chair for a candidate who didnt want to issue a leadership platform.
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Wouldnt it essentially become the Maytag-repairman job of the campaign always on call, but never needed? It hasnt turned out that way, says McGraw, who likes to joke, Mitt Romney-style, that she has binders full of policy. Quietly, while the campaign has trundled on without a platform, she has been busy generating a massive database. It contains briefing notes, position papers, and names of experts whove been sought out and of policy minds who have offered their services if and when Trudeau wins. And on top of this old-fashioned method of accumulating policy, the Trudeau campaign has been taking advantage of the vast new world of digital policy-gathering, largely thanks to the efforts of Tom Pitfield. Pitfield says that Canadians may be surprised to learn just how much expertise is in this country on the digital-engagement front. Though Pitfield has consulted widely with Barack Obamas savvy digital experts during the Trudeau campaign, he also believes that Canadians have stuff to teach the Americans. Right before he went out to purchase a U.S.-made digital platform to engage people who had signed up for Trudeau, Pitfield learned about a new start-up called SoapBox, created by a former Ryerson University student named Brennan McEachran. Its better than anything I could have got in the States, Pitfield says. Basically, its an online tool that encourages people to submit ideas or questions, which are then voted up or down by participants. In the first 24 hours after SoapBox was launched on the Trudeau website, it drew in 25,000 people. On any given evening, laptop in front of her after the kids have gone to bed, McGraw pores through the hundreds of submissions to SoapBox and looks for intriguing new ideas. Shes found some on democratic reform, for instance, that she intends to pursue down the road. One of Trudeaus rare policy pronouncements did revolve
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Justin Trudeau

around democratic reform, including a vow to let Liberal riding associations choose their own candidates, with no pressure, vetoes or appointments by the leader. While thats going a bit further than other leaders have in loosening their reins on power, much of Trudeaus talk on democracy through the campaign has not been all that original. He has a standard stump-speech line, very familiar to this reporters ears, about how politicians need to represent their constituents views in Ottawa instead of imposing Ottawas views on their ridings. Its a sentiment thats been packaged into political speeches of all stripes for the past couple of decades. Former Reform Party leader Preston Manning even had a little shtick he did with a chair from the House of Commons: hed place it on the stage and tell his audiences that it belonged to them, not their MP in Ottawa. Back when Paul Martin was running in his long campaign to be Liberal leader in the early 2000s, he told all his audiences that he was going to turn over all this top-down governing stuff too. Even then, a decade ago, it was becoming a clich. Its the line that gets the biggest applause, I remember one of Martins advisers solemnly telling me while we were on the road at some point during those years. Trudeau knows that hes offering up recycled material on democratic reform. Im very aware that its a promise that has been made pretty much by every politician in the past, but its one that Im absolutely committed to, he tells reporters at one stop. Will he stay committed to it, though, or abandon the promise in face of the overwhelming demands on a leader to maintain the much-vaunted discipline over his troops? Thats been the pattern now through several recyclings. For now, we can only speculate, or as his father might have said, just watch him. To be fair, the Trudeau campaign hasnt been totally devoid of substance. When it came to current events, Trudeau ventured
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Justin Trudeau

some thoughts along the trail. A sampling: At his first official campaign stop in Alberta in October, he disavowed his fathers national energy program, the one that had helped turn the West into a Liberal wasteland for the past 30 years. It is wrong to use our natural wealth to divide Canadians against one another, he said. It was the wrong way to govern in the past. It is the wrong way today. It will be the wrong way in the future. More controversially, he also appeared to turn his back on the long-gun registry, calling it a failure. At a campaign stop in eastern Ontario in early December, he was asked about the registry, much cherished in Quebec and among Liberals in general, but scrapped by Harpers Conservatives. The long-gun registry, as it was, was a failure and Im not going to resuscitate that, Trudeau told reporters. We will continue to look at ways of keeping our cities safe and making sure that we do address the concerns around domestic violence that happen right across the country, in rural as well as urban areas in which, unfortunately, guns do play a role. . . . But there are better ways of keeping us safe than that registry which is, has been removed. The remarks seemed a bit of glib improvisation on an important policy matter an impression sealed when Trudeau had to backtrack in subsequent days. Within a couple of weeks, he was saying only that he was going to listen more to gun owners in any future attempts to regulate firearms use and ownership. He came out in favour of the $15.1-billion Chinese takeover of the Calgary-based Nexen Inc., calling it good for Canada even before the Conservative government gave it cautious approval in December. He opposed, however, the so-called Northern Gateway pipeline proposed by Enbridge, Inc., to ship oilsands crude from the West Coast to Asia. He lambasted the New Democratic Party for its bill to allow for Quebec secession with a 50-plus-one per cent majority in a ref32

Justin Trudeau

erendum. But then he went a step further, hinting that a two-thirds majority would be more fair, prompting the Parti Qubcois to accuse him of provocation and Garneau, then his leadership rival, to scoff at a rookie mistake. The plain fact of the matter, though, is that the no-policy approach only makes sense if youre sure youre going to win. Trudeau, the front-runner, can afford to say to his audiences in a way his rivals cannot that organization will come first, policy later. And by later, he means after he wins. Before we can sell someone on our platform as being the best one, the smartest one, the one with the vision, the one with the long-term view for this country, we actually have to remind Canadians that its important for political parties to have a platform, a vision, a long-term view of this country, he told the student at Western University who asked him the question about how he differed from his rivals. And that only happens when you rebuild a connection with people in their lives, on their ground, feeling like they matter in how we shape the platform for the election. And for that to happen, the Trudeau campaign has had to build a formidable machine, suitable for 21st-century politics, a task the Liberals had failed to do while basking in power and seeing Canadians from behind the windows of their government-issued cars.

33

The Campaign Machine

At 30 Duncan St. (Photo: Adam Scotti/Courtesy Justin Trudeau)

Its 5 p.m. on a bitingly cold February night, and the basement at 30 Duncan St. is buzzing with activity. This is the main hub for the Justin Trudeau leadership-campaign machine, lodged in a somewhat dingy office space in the heart of downtown Toronto. Young volunteers are shaking off the cold as they sign in for duty at the front counter. In one of the front offices, two students are sitting at laptop computers, entering data from stacks of signup forms into the Liberal party database. My hands are getting cramped, one complains good-naturedly, saying shes now able to process 40 to 50 forms an hour. This job, unlike most others in the vast Trudeau campaign machine, is paid work the data-entry employees are on short-term contracts,
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earning somewhere between $500 and $2000 a month. With a total campaign spending limit of $950,000, none of the leadership candidates can afford to throw money at their workers, so this is an indication of just how important data has become to a party set on revival/survival. The Liberals need data as much as they need money to fight the 2015 election. Trudeaus leadership campaign is actually making more money than it can spend the candidate told his caucus colleagues early in 2013 that he expected to have a surplus of more than $600,000 to deposit in Liberal party coffers when the campaign was over in April. The makeshift boardroom is empty for now, but Omar Alghabra, the former Mississauga MP in charge of this operation, is getting ready to head into his office for a conference call with the Trudeau campaign team. The main action takes place in the sprawling space at the back, a cement-floored, brightly lit expanse, walls decorated with photos, progress charts and Justin shout-outs. At opposite corners of this 400-square foot space are a couple of rows of cheap, rented cubicles. These are the phone banks, where the serious business of recruiting support is carried out. In another corner is a battered old couch and an assortment of chairs this is the salon where Trudeaus volunteers congregate to shoot the breeze or listen to the various speakers who pop by the campaign headquarters. Former foreign affairs minister and interim leader Bill Graham has regaled the volunteers with stories at these speaker sessions; so has former minister Pierre Pettigrew. The back wall is covered with plain brown wrapping paper, which visitors and volunteers are invited to autograph. Trudeau himself left his greetings on a recent visit, thanking all the workers at 30 Duncan.
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Its not the fanciest-looking office, says Semra Sevi, a 25-yearold University of Toronto student who is one of the volunteer managers, and one of the people responsible for keeping the place humming with recruits. The whole place has the feel of a youth drop-in centre, which it is, essentially. Most of the volunteers milling around on this evening were not even born when the federal Liberal party used to have its Toronto headquarters just a few doors away, at 15 Duncan St., in the early 1970s. Its yet another echo of Pierre Trudeaus Liberal party, faintly sounding behind the political journey of his eldest son. But the old Trudeau Liberal party never had to contend with the democratic chaos of Canadian politics 2.0, a world of mass phone calls, sprawling social-media networks and an urgent need for volunteers to manage the mayhem. Saudi Arabia-born Alghabra, 43, came to Canada when he was 19 and still has family back in Syria. Though he has degrees in mechanical engineering and business administration, his vocational calling is politics, an interest first stoked when he became a member of the community editorial board of the Toronto Star. He ran for office in 2006 and won a seat, but he was unable to keep it in the two subsequent elections, despite a delightful, quirky ad campaign, which he dubbed cynicism-free. The animated spots featured a cartoon biography of Alghabra doing everything from pumping gas to making doughnuts, while another ad featured clips of Mississauga children trying to pronounce his name. Now between jobs, still hoping to return to the House of Commons someday, Alghabra is in charge of volunteers for the Trudeau campaign, while his old friend Navdeep Bains, another former Mississauga MP, is in charge of operations. Neither is a small task. When the campaign released its numbers in early March, it boasted more than 160,000 supporters and a whopping 10,000 volunteers on its rolls.
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Justin Trudeau

Volunteerism experts often talk about the two Rs of their business: recruitment and retention. Katie Telford, though, has added a third component: reward, or, as she calls it, appreciation. All kinds of friendly competitions are held to motivate volunteers: prizes for the most sign-ups, Twitter shout-outs by Trudeau for jobs well done, periodic draws to raffle off tickets to leadershipcampaign events. There were very few titles given to campaign workers, deliberately, because Telford believed that every person should be made to feel responsible for every aspect of the campaign: recruiting supporters, raising money and taking care of details such as putting up signs and keeping lists. When famous speakers came by 30 Duncan to talk to the volunteers, they were asked to do some calling too and not allowed to leave until they signed someone up. Borrowing heavily from lessons learned in Barack Obamas social outreach to young voters in his presidential campaigns, the Trudeau team is trying to match the Democrats now-legendary ability to turn non-voters into voters. Pitfield is the one whos been paying most attention on this front, delving into the vast, largely uncharted world (for Liberals) of digital campaigning. Hes learned some important lessons in the process: details matter, its important to be nimble and to pivot, and online relationships between politicos and the voters are a dance, a courtship. The Trudeau campaign also experimented with some new technology in this campaign, with virtual phone banks so that people could do recruiting from home, as well as the SoapBox platform to generate ideas. Telford got to know Alghabra and Bains when they were part of Gerard Kennedys campaign in the 2006 leadership. When she was assembling the core team for Trudeau in 2012, she said these two men were at the top of her list. Bains, first elected in 2004, had lost his seat in the 2011 election, and is now a distinguished
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visiting lecturer at Ryerson Universitys school of management. Throughout the leadership campaign, hes been juggling that job with his official title as a co-chair of the national organization. (He points out that a lot of the legwork has been done by his assistant, Vanabana Kattar.) Alghabra and Bains are interesting choices. They are representatives of the multicultural, new-Canadian constituency that used to automatically belong to the Liberals. But they are a new generation, not representatives of the old party culture that too often treated these communities as little more than instant Liberals, fodder for stacking nomination meetings. Trudeau had offers of help from veterans seasoned in these arts, but he says he turned them down. This is a side-benefit of running a front-runners campaign you can afford to be choosy about who helps and who speaks on the leaders behalf. The way hes done politics has ruffled too many feathers, Trudeau said about one of these veteran organizers he rebuffed. The crucial challenge of building the Trudeau organization, Bains said, was to make it strong in every region. The way the Liberal leadership voting works, every riding is equal. Candidates get points based on their percentage of the vote in each of the 308 ridings. So its not good enough to have thousands of supporters in a GTA riding and a handful in rural Alberta. Bains and the team across the country got to work on setting targets for each riding, which were based on local dynamics and past performance. Then they turned the volunteers loose to figure out their own ways of drumming up support. Throughout the early months of 2013, leading up to the March 3 deadline for signing up new supporters, the Trudeau campaign constantly stoked the competition between the ridings, to see who could overtake their targets. The days before March 3 saw a whirlwind of emails back and forth among the ridings, claiming various triumphs. The re38

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sult was the whopping 160,000-plus supporters the campaign was able to boast when the deadline closed. Organizationally theres no one model, or one size that fits in any riding, Bains said. And this included planning for visits by the candidate, the thinking being that local people knew better than the central HQ where Trudeau would get the better turnouts. The local organizers, the local volunteers, they designed the tour. Back a decade or so ago, Liberals could lure young volunteer recruits into the machine with the prospect of jobs in political or government offices. In third place in the Commons now, the road back to power far from assured, this means campaign organizers like Bains have needed to look for different methods of inspiration at the grassroots. Long-term, Bains says, Its about laying down the foundations for a positive, progressive movement. Short-term, its about getting Trudeau elected as leader on April 14, and making his volunteers feel good about the effort. Elliott Moglica certainly feels appreciated. A poet and teacher originally from Albania, he has made the Trudeau campaign headquarters his second home this winter. He is almost surrealistically upbeat; his admiration for Trudeau approaches worship. Asked how old he is, he smiles broadly and answers: 41, the same age as Justin. He is also a reigning champion in signing up supporters, and he never stops. When the volunteers knock off duty for the day, they often head out for drinks and a bite to eat, and Moglica invariably manages to get the servers to sign a supporter form. In the running competition to sign up the most supporters the prize is a dinner with Trudeau Moglica stands one of the best chances of winning. During Trudeaus recent visit to 30 Duncan, the candidate wandered over to personally thank him and asked whether he had signed up any waitresses recently.
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How did he know? Moglica asks. Moglicas enthusiasm is infectious. On a whiteboard in the back office, volunteers have scrawled their favourite Elliottisms expressions he uses often in his unrelenting bid to find converts to the Trudeau cause. A thousand thank yous from the bottom of my heart, he says when hes sealed a successful deal. Moglica also shares another bit of biography with Trudeau his training as a teacher. Its taught him how to do active listening on the phone, he says, a skill he credits for part of his success in turning cold calls into support for his candidate. Active listening is very important, he says. The first five seconds you can assess whether the person has time, wants to talk, is very tired, is very stressed, doesnt want to talk . . . You can understand right away the energy. This isnt Moglicas first foray into political volunteerism. He knocked on doors in Toronto Centre for Bob Rae. But this campaign is different from others, he says the presence of young people is the most vivid distinction. Here I can see young people involved, finally! he says. Usually they dont want to be part of politics at all. Moglica also feels something different when hes talking on the phone in this campaign. People are curious they want to know more. People want to talk. Finally, politics is fun. When you hear that, it means something is there. Something important is there. Luanne Cunningham, 56, sits a few cubicles down from Moglica at Trudeau headquarters, and she too has posted some success, not to mention long hours, pulling in new supporters for Trudeau. A bit of a political rarity, Cunningham is a Liberal from Alberta, one who embraced the party before and after her move to Ontario in the 1980s. She is very good at analyzing what works and what doesnt in the art of political cold-calling, and shes helped
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revise the script they use to connect Trudeau to the people at the end of the phone line. One thing they learned, for instance, was to take money out of the equation altogether. When people felt that they were being asked to reach into their wallets, they tuned out. Cunningham and Moglica and the other volunteers quickly assure potential supporters that the fundraising part of the Trudeau campaign is a totally different department one which theyre welcome to explore on the website, of course. Witness the ravages of the telemarketing business: citizens getting a call from a stranger at home now immediately assume its some plot to part them from their hard-earned money, and hang up. Cunningham says she has learned, through trial and error, how to keep them on the line. She explains how it works. You listen first to see where they are and then you kind of take them with you. I say: Im calling on behalf of Justin Trudeau. Do you know that hes running for the Liberal leadership? As often as not, the people at the other end of the line are aware these are phone numbers theyve obtained from the Liberal database. Cunningham then speaks slowly: So what Im calling for is to find out if we can count on your vote in April. By her rough estimate, only about 10 per cent of the people she reaches are hostile or nonsupportive. These are the people who have likely abandoned the Liberals for good; they ask to be taken off the lists. But the other 90 per cent, she says, are receptive to the idea that Canadian politics needs something positive, something that unites rather than divides. Like Moglica, she talks this up at every opportunity the voters shes reaching are disgusted with politics as usual and want something very different. This job, the Trudeau
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callers tell their prospects, is something that their candidate will deliver. Another addition to the standard call script came when the headquarters started getting reports of the crowds turning out at the Trudeau events in January and early February. They started adding notices of upcoming rallies or meetings if they were calling areas where the candidate intended to visit. So some of those crowds showing up at Trudeau events were in part a result of the efforts of the phone volunteers at headquarters. The Trudeau headquarters, for all its casual appearance, is all about fanatic measurement counting support, logging hours for volunteers and oiling the machinery of modern campaigning. This is the legacy of a fundraising-law crackdown, which forced the Liberal party to abandon its reliance on well-heeled corporate donors and now concentrate, as the Liberals opponents have for years, on reconnecting the party to grassroots support as well as donors. The reliance on corporate donations and the complacency of power also left the Liberals woefully behind on accumulating the data that their rival Conservatives and New Democrats had gathered. The volunteers entering data at Trudeau headquarters are contributing to that catch-up effort. Those names and numbers will also come in handy in the next election, in 2015, when the Liberals have to go out and identify possible support. Student Semra Sevi, who helped organize those famous vote mobs to pull out the youth vote in the 2011 election, wasnt a big fan of the campaign the Liberals ran that year. It seemed unfocused and out of touch with the issues she cared about. She also didnt think much of leader Michael Ignatieff. But she was floored by the May 2 results with the Liberals reduced to 34 seats, Ignatieff defeated and gone, and the potential extinction of the Liberals looming as a real possibility. So amid all that destruction, Sevi picked her way through the ruins and
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took out a membership in the Liberal party. She wasnt alone. Interim leader Rae would report a month later that membership in the party was, curiously, climbing after the May 2 defeat. Though the party wasnt keeping really close track of those post-defeat converts, long-time Liberal activists said that much of the interest was coming from red Tories progressive-minded conservatives who were alarmed at the prospect of choosing in 2015 between Harpers hard-right brand of conservatism or the stark alternative of the left-wing New Democrats. As Sevi was settling into her new Liberal membership over the summer, she had to sign up for classes in the fall. Ignatieff, as it happened, would be teaching a course called Renewing Canadian Democracy. Sevi enrolled and after a few classes, she changed her mind about the former Liberal leader. I was blown away by the things he said as a professor that he didnt say as a politician, she says. He talked about the problems that he saw in the party, and he talked about it openly, with no reservations. One of the problems, clearly, is the Liberal partys failure to capture the imagination, let alone the votes, of young people. Sevi started work on a thesis, under Ignatieff s supervision, about improving youth turnout. Within a year, she had also got to know and admire Trudeau, and in short order found herself being advised by the former leader while working on the campaign of a man running to be his successor. Yes, its quite funny how that all turned out, she says. It was Sevis idea to reach out to universities and high schools and get students churning through Trudeau headquarters on an internship program. Working with various local secondary and post-secondary institutions in the GTA, campaign workers managed to find about 50 students to come and do volunteer stints as interns with Team Justin, two hours a week minimum. About 90
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per cent of them had never been involved with any kind of political campaign before. Erwin Bocianski, 24, is one of them. Hes a student at the University of Toronto. As a political science student, I thought it was important to see actually how the whole process works, he says. Its opened his eyes to the difference between the theory and practice of his field of study. Talking to people on the phone, trying to drum up support, Bocianski isnt encountering a lot of complicated talk about theory or policy. When he mentions that hes working on the Trudeau campaign, more often than not the response is positive. Most people are pretty excited, he says. Because of course, beyond the machine, beyond the no-policy policy, this campaign really revolves around one person who Canadians seem to think they know: Justin Trudeau.

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Close to Home

Justin Trudeau often talks to his audiences about how he was lucky to grow up at 24 Sussex Dr. But as a young child, he bristled under some of the living conditions. The constant presence of the RCMP, for instance, was a mixed blessing and an ever-present reminder of the limits to their childish freedom. Unlike other kids, the young Trudeau boys couldnt simply run off for a day of unsupervised adventure. Young Justin received a stern lesson on this score when he gave the slip to his RCMP minders and took off on his bike through the rockeries at Rockcliffe Park in Ottawa. His father was furious, and the 12-year-old boy got a lecture he didnt soon forget. Dad says: Look, these guys have a job to do and you just made it a lot more difficult, Trudeau recalled. I never did that again, Among the constant security presence at 24 Sussex there was a plain clothes officer who didnt have a lot of hair. So the Trudeau boys dubbed him Baldy. Again, their father was mightily unimpressed. Overhearing them calling the man by this nickname, he plunked the three brothers in front of him and dressed them down about their lack of respect. Justin, Sacha and Michel were warned that in future, they were to address Baldy by his title and last name. So, 30 years older and wiser, with those lessons of deference drilled into him, Justin Trudeau, the Liberal leadership candidate, stood respectfully beside Const. Jeff Ling on the stage at Loyalist College in Belleville. It was Valentines Day, 2013, and it provided a moment that would become one of the most unexpectedly emotional of the leadership campaign.
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Ling, outfitted in the full vest and cap of the Belleville police force, was clutching a framed picture very familiar to Trudeau (and many Canadians too). Snapped by photographer Rod McIvor at a garden party at 24 Sussex in 1973, it shows Pierre Trudeau ferrying an 18-month-old Justin under his arm, while off to the side an RCMP officer is offering a snappy salute. The elder Trudeau, his right hand firmly clutching his squirming child, is unable to return the salute, but he flashes an indulgent fathers smile. Ling displayed the picture and told the audience a bit about it and its place in the history of Canadian photojournalism. Trudeau nodded politely; these trips down memory lane were pretty much standard fare of any stop on his leadership campaign.

The famous photo (Photo: courtesy Rod MacIvor/UPI)

But then Ling introduced another layer of nostalgia to this presentation. The officer in the photo was his father, former RCMP Insp. Dennis Ling, who had been part of the security detail at
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24 Sussex before and after Justin Trudeau was born. Suddenly, the characters behind the glass, like those long-ago voters in the homes near Strathroy, Ont., had stepped into 2013 to become reallive people. Trudeau gasped, and to his own and his audiences surprise, tears sprung to his eyes and began to roll down his cheek. Ling carried on, talking about his fathers job in protective services during the FLQ crisis and the War Measures Act of 1970. My father and your father actually spent quite a lot of time together, Ling said. And they found themselves sitting in a waiting room in a hospital on the 25th of December, back in 1971, which is Justins birthday, known in my family as Operation Newborn, I think we called it in our house, the year Dad was gone for Christmas. As this proud son of an RCMP inspector finished the presentation, he handed the photo to Trudeau and tried to give him a dadstyle salute. Trudeau lunged in for a hug instead. And then Trudeau apologized to his audience for the unexpected burst of emotion, assuring the assembled that he was not normally a crybaby. At almost every single stop across this country, I am overwhelmed with people who come and tell me great stories about my father and great stories about my mother and I have so far been able to resist the tears that always, inevitably flow. I am so touched and so honoured and so grateful to the men and women around this country who have chosen to serve this country with their very lives in the Canadian Forces and in the police services and it has always been something that always in my life has left me humbled. Later, reflecting on that moment, Trudeau tried to analyze what happened. He has grown accustomed to being reminded of his late father and his own childhood. People often turn up at his speeches with souvenirs of Trudeaumania. In London, Ont., for example,
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Beverley Reed showed up with a teddy bear that was, quite frankly, a bit spooky, featuring a plastic likeness of Pierre Trudeaus face. She had picked it up back in the 1970s, at a Liberal conference in London, and decided to take it to the crowded German-Canadian hall where Trudeau the younger was doing a campaign rally in early February. Ahhh! Trudeau cried when he saw the artifact, leaping backward for dramatic effect. Thats not freaky at all, is it? Even international superstars want to draw the line between father and son. In late October, not long after Trudeaus leadership campaign was launched, Barbra Streisand performed at a huge, sold-out concert in Ottawa. Still dazzling at age 70, clad in a sparkling, floor-length black gown, Streisand regaled the crowd with some anecdotes between songs. Pacing the stage, pouring herself a glass of water, Streisand smiled and took her listeners back 40 years. She told the audience about her first visit to Ottawa in 1970. I was a guest of your prime minister at the time, she said, coyly, and the audience laughed with her, as if they all shared this private, romantic memory of the brief relationship between Pierre Trudeau and this musical legend. Streisand recalled the ballet they attended. Then she talked about she had recently done a show in Montreal and how Justin Trudeau and his lovely lovely wife, Sophie, had come to see her. He seemed so full of progressive ideas for the people and this wonderful country of yours that I can see why Macleans magazine called him the most popular politician in Canada, she said. He may be occupying 24 Sussex Dr. in a few years. I sure hope so. Whether the reminders are famous, freaky or frequent, theyre part of being Pierre Trudeaus son, running for the job his dad once held. Every now and then, as it happened in Belleville, someone punches through the polite veneer and hits Trudeau in the gut.
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Father-son relationships always get me, Trudeau says. Always. Its a trigger for me. Heres the son talking about how proud he is of his father. Bam! Right here! That for me is such a core element. The way my dad was looking at him, the way I was looking at him. It encompassed so much in terms of the respect (for police officers). That was such a big part of my life. Trudeau is a father himself now, too, and the mother of his two children, Sophie Grgoire, attests that there is a big bond between her husband and her young son, Xavier, born in 2007. His younger sister, Ella-Grace, born two years later, has been known to complain mostly good-heartedly that her older brother takes up a lot of space and attention. The two children have very different personalities, the parents say: in times of stress or upset, Xavier joins in the emotion; Ella-Grace runs to comfort everyone. Trudeaus entire campaign schedule was organized around making sure that he wasnt spending too much time away from his wife and young family that was the deal made at the outset. His travel schedule was broken down into four-to-five day bursts of rapid-fire activity and then a couple of down days with the family. He even took time out for a brief family holiday in Florida in early March, after the deadline passed to sign up new Liberal members and supporters. When hes on the road, he calls Grgoire frequently to update her on his day and get reports from home. In casual conversation, he mentions her often she is, as often as not, cast as the one who needs to be convinced on some matter or another. It was Grgoire, for instance, who had the sternest words for her husband after he called Environment Minister Peter Kent a piece of s--- in the Commons in late 2011. It was Grgoire who needed to be assured that Trudeau was in his right mind when he agreed to step into the boxing ring with Sen. Patrick Brazeau in March 2012. As Trudeau recounted to Macleans Paul Wells: My wife couldnt get past the
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size of his arms and just what a scary mofo he was. And that generally delighted me. But I told Sophie, Look, come in and watch me train one time . . . Ill show you that I can hold my own. No problem. So she eventually came around to trusting me on this. This pattern, of being Trudeaus sober second thought, was set early in their relationship. On their first date, in fact, Trudeau announced that he intended to marry Grgoire. His date, however, needed to be persuaded. Grgoire and Trudeau first met at a Grand Prix event in Montreal in the spring of 2003 and were dating by the fall. Grgoire, at 28, was a bit of a celebrity in her own right in Montreal, as a television host, aspiring actress and personal shopper at Holt Renfrew. Despite her own claims to fame, however, she was aware that by accepting Trudeaus invitation to dinner, she was likely entering another circle of celebrity altogether. Was I intimidated by the Trudeau name? she says. Im sure I was. I remember thinking, Oh, my God, what am I getting into? Trudeau suggested a restaurant in Montreal, one that was reasonably well-known and getting good reviews, but Grgoire said she didnt want to go anywhere he had taken previous girlfriends. At the suggestion of his brother Sacha, they chose an Afghan restaurant called the Khyber Pass, on Duluth St., where they sat at a garden table in candlelight. As she remembers it, he simply declared: Ive been waiting for you 31 years. . . . This is where we were meant to be in our life, and now its happening, and were going to be together for this whole lifetime. Grgoire, looking back on the moment, thinks she probably also decided then and there that the two of them would end up married. Theres a reason why he chose me, but theres also a reason why I chose him. Its because I knew as well. There was a graceful certainty to the whole thing, she said.
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Grgoire had a very different upbringing from Trudeau. An only child, she spent the first five years of her life in rural Quebec, in St. Adele, and her memories of these early years are bucolic. I truly have a sensory memory of my years spent in the woods, pure freedom, playing with the animals outside. I just feel that those five years, those first days of my life where I lived in the countryside, completely stuck with who I am today. When she was 5, her family moved to Montreal, and she did the rest of her growing up in the Town of Mount Royal as the daughter of a well-to-do stockbroker. She got a degree in communication from the University of Montreal, a certificate in commerce from McGill and further training in radio and TV broadcasting. She was a fan of extreme sports, but not of extreme lifestyles. In this, she and Trudeau are much in sync. Ive jumped out of an airplane, 13,000 feet, she says. Ive done lots of stuff in my life that brought my emotions to a high level. But we were never people who were attracted to drugs and stuff that made us disconnect from our state of mind. Within a year or so of their first date, Trudeau formally proposed to Sophie, on Oct. 18, 2004, which would have been his fathers 85th birthday. The two had visited Pierre Trudeaus grave that day and Trudeau popped the question at dinner. Their marriage, in May 2005, was treated as a paparazzi-worthy event, even if it didnt exactly conform to glamour-in-excess standards of celebrity weddings. A Hollywood wedding this was not, Shinan Govani wrote in the National Post. These nuptials were notable for their non-overthe-topness, and a guest list not made up overwhelmingly of backscratching political hacks or two-bit celebrities spread out like cream cheese on the couples big day cracker. These were, more or less, the couples close friends and family. As Govani did note, however, there were enough reminders
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of Pierre Trudeau built into the day to placate the diehard, old Trudeau maniacs. The couple departed in Pierres 1960s MercedesBenz convertible, and a single red rose was tucked into the garland adorning the back of the car.

Justin and Sophie on their wedding day (Photo: Bernard Weil/Toronto Star)

With marriage and then children grounding him, Trudeaus pursuit of a political career appeared to begin in earnest. He said in frequent interviews that he was determined to avoid the mistakes his parents made mismatched ages and interests, lives spent too much in the public eye. Grgoire, in the meantime, took up yoga with a passion. Trudeau kept up his paid speaking engagements, on top of his MPs salary a decision that would become ammunition for his critics during the leadership when he disclosed the hundreds of thousands of dollars hed earned, some from charitable and school groups. Despite their expanding finances, Trudeaus
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family also moved from Outremont to a smaller house near the Town of Mount Royal in 2010 a bid, Grgoire says, to simplify and unclutter her life, just as it was to become more complicated, professionally, for her husband. She became a certified yoga teacher in 2012, the same year that her husband decided to seek the Liberal leadership. Anna Gainey, wife of Trudeaus childhood friend Tom Pitfield, serves as Grgoires pillar in the campaign, organizing her rare talks with the media and making sure the campaign logistics work for her. Gainey is very familiar with the political and public fray her father is the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, and she heads the Gainey Foundation, which helps finance environmental and arts programs for youth. She is also a former aide on the Hill and current riding president of Westmount-Ville Marie (though she stepped aside from those duties while the MP for that riding, Marc Garneau, was running for the leadership against one of her closest friends). Gainey also has two young children. Her oldest, Jackson, was born a month after Ella-Grace, and she worries, of course, about all the ways in which political life can play havoc with young families. But as part of the couple closest to Trudeau and Grgoire, almost like family herself, she recognizes that this is another adventure for them. And the friends are fiercely loyal to aiding their friends through the adventure. Important as Trudeaus family is not just to his life right now, but to understanding his background they have stayed far behind the scenes during the leadership campaign. After Grgoire introduced him at the campaign launch in Montreal, she made few public appearances, concentrating instead on her own busy life of speaking engagements, yoga instruction and keeping the home fires burning. She is far less of a public presence to her political husband than her mother-in-law, Margaret Trudeau, was to hers.
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Grgoire has a good relationship with Margaret Trudeau. They have travelled together on holidays and for charitable work. Grgoire is involved with a number of charities, including being a spokesperson for the Shield of Athena family services organization in her husbands Papineau riding. Margaret Trudeau, in her 2010 book Changing My Mind a book on her battles with bipolar disorder wrote extensively on her admiration of the women her sons had chosen to marry. She also offered some glimpses into rambunctious family gatherings at which Justin and Sacha toss their children in the air (and catch them). We do things together, we play with the kids, weve travelled together to Ethiopia, we share special moments together, Grgoire says. Obviously, she only wants the best for us. Margaret Trudeau is not shy of the limelight, but she only made one, early public appearance during the launch of her sons leadership campaign in Vancouver, where she simply said, Im his mother, I know that whatever Justin gives you, itll be from his heart; thats the way hes been all his life. I think its time for us older people to maybe step aside and let the young people of his generation take a chance. Privately, she has warned Grgoire about the perils of political spousehood. Its not always so comforting (for her) to know that were going into politics, but she knows us, Grgoire says. She looks at me and says, You know what, its going to be OK. But its not going to be easy. At the outset of the campaign, it had seemed that brother Sacha would be playing a prominent role. He was described as a senior adviser and given credit for rounding up the Quebec contingent of organizers for his brother. He was in the front rows for the Oct. 2 launch, along with his wife, Zo Bedos, but he politely rebuffed requests for interviews. Its not my show tonight, he said.
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Through the years, Sacha has been seen as the more serious of the brothers, the one who most closely resembles the father in looks and temperament. He is a documentary-maker, an international traveller and the one in charge of managing the money his father left to the three surviving children: Justin, Sacha and Sarah Coyne, daughter of Deborah Coyne, who is also a Liberal leadership candidate. Curiously enough, Justin Trudeaus and Coynes mutual connection to Pierre Trudeau has barely registered on the public radar during the Liberal leadership race. Coyne decided, riskily, to air the entire relationship with Pierre Trudeau in an eBook published in January, called Unscripted. Ive always been reluctant to talk about my private life, but Im now in the leadership race for the Liberal Party of Canada, Coyne explained in an online chat with Star readers after her book was released. I accept that people are entitled to know about my background and what has led me to this decision. That includes my relationship with Pierre Trudeau. The book made clear that there was no relationship at all, essentially, between Justin Trudeau and his half-sister, now in her 20s and attending university in the United States. Coyne and Trudeau squared off a few times during the leadership debates, but apart from a few joking references from spectators on Twitter, the issue of their shared link to the elder Trudeau seems to be a non-issue for Liberals generally. Asked privately whether hed read Coynes book, Justin Trudeau frowned disapprovingly and uttered a curt No. It could be argued that the two Trudeau brothers have divided up their fathers career legacy. While Justin is pursuing the political path that his father only picked up in mid-life, Sacha is more in the mould of Pierre Trudeau before he went into politics, travelling the world and writing, documenting and commenting on what he
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learns. After he helped get his brother established in the leadership campaign, he stepped back and resumed work on a book and some documentaries he was doing. In early 2013, Sacha was in China. But his older brother continued to lean on him for support. He doesnt have a formal role in the campaign, other than the very serious role of being my brother and someone that I love and trust, Justin says. Asked to define how they are different, he has a succinct and interesting answer. Im very good at trusting people, Justin says. Hes very good at mistrusting people. And we form a good balance that way. Some might say, given the toxic climate of politics, circa 2013 not to mention the Liberals rich history of infighting that Sachas approach to the world might be more appropriate to the political life his brother has chosen. Justin Trudeau can take a punch, and hes not a crybaby, he says, but is he cut out for the fights ahead?

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Sticks and Stones

The first public faceoff between Justin Trudeau and Prime Minister Stephen Harper took place on March 7, 2013 in the House of Commons. In kindness to both of them, its probably safest to say that this first matchup was a draw. Interim leader Bob Rae was away that day, so Trudeau stood up to ask the first question for his party. Holding a script in front of him, Trudeau read aloud: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Middle-class Canadians have the right to obtain the skills in demand in their local job market in order to succeed. On this side of the House, we are troubled by the news that the government is considering taking the responsibility for training programs away from the regions and communities, which know better than anyone what workers need. Does the Prime Minister now believe that Ottawa knows better than the regions what Canadians need to get a job? A little ripple spread through the chamber as Harper stood to answer. And then the Prime Minister made an unfortunate verbal slip he referred to Trudeau as the minister, before correcting himself to describe him properly as the member for Papineau. As both sides of the House erupted in laughter, Harper smiled, winced and stuck out his tongue, literally trying to spit the distasteful prospect out of his mouth. But Trudeau was either unable or willing to seize the moment. Clutching his script for dear life, he carried on reading aloud about labour-market policies at the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development. Harper, in turn, replied with his own canned answer about a critical economic problem and the search for solutions. And that was it. As political theatre, the moment was notable only for the fact
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that it happened. Neither politician was at his best. Harper seemed a little off his game, while Trudeau did little to dispel the notion that he was an amateur in the cut and thrust of parliamentary debate. The amateurism, however, is a double-edged sword. Very deliberately, Trudeaus campaign was organized around the idea of him as an outsider to Ottawa, someone more comfortable away from the bubble of punditry and cynicism in the capital. Thats not an easy act to pull off when you grew up at 24 Sussex Dr., but Trudeau, the adult, can hardly be called the darling of the Ottawa chattering classes. The members of the commentariat class within the political bubble, many of whom occupy the instant-opinion seats on the political TV shows, seem more comfortable when theyre mocking or dismissing him. He rarely issued campaign itineraries or news releases to the parliamentary press gallery; he seemed almost unconcerned with what people were saying about him in the bars and corridors in Ottawa. Most members of his core team were located several large paces away from Ottawa, in Toronto or Montreal. Trudeau himself stayed away from a glitzy Politics and the Pen gala in Ottawa the night before he addressed that first question to Harper in the Commons not because he wanted to memorize his script, but because he wanted to go to the gym. Turning up later at the after-party in the Chateau Laurier, clad in a casual grey jacket and no tie, Trudeau bluntly said that he had no intention, while running for leader, to swan around a black-tie event with other denizens of Parliament Hill. Shortly before the Christmas break in late 2012, I sit down with Trudeau in his cramped office in the Confederation Building for a year-end interview. Hes in a good mood, relaxed and happy to answer questions at some length. Hes been at this leadership-candidate thing for a couple of months, and he clearly thinks hes getting the hang of it, with the ready replies and a lot of talk about his
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intention to listen. Hes not going to be drawn into conversations about platforms or policies or angel-on-the-head-of-a-pin arguments with his Liberal rivals. Then I present a scenario to Trudeau. I say that Harper is not his real rival among the Conservatives that Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is his problem. If hes really waging his political campaign outside Harpers Ottawa, thats doubly true. Kenney is the man who connects Harper to the hinterland where Trudeau has done all his extensive travelling of late. Kenney started his political life as a Liberal he worked for Ralph Goodale when Goodale was leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal party in the 1980s. Then he became the head of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and a rising young Conservative. Kenney, with his own political conversion and Western base, almost personifies the big shift that journalist John Ibbitson and pollster Darrell Bricker describe in their 2013 book of the same name, about how demographic and political trends have moved in the Conservatives favour for the 21st century. Moreover, Kenney has been running around the country for the better part of the last decade, making more Conservative converts out of many multicultural communities that used to automatically belong to the party of Trudeaus dad. And finally, Kenney, closer in age to Trudeau, obviously sees himself as a successor to Harper. If Trudeau is in this for the long game, it is very possibly Kenney he will be debating at a podium in the future. As Trudeau takes all this in, his posture changes, from listener to pugilist. He sits up on the edge of his chair. Bring him on, he says. I think Mr. Kenney is going through just the very beginning of the total failure of his attempts over the past years to get close to the (multicultural) communities, because his approach is fundamentally transactional, tit for tat. I will offer you this and you offer me that.
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People were expecting more out of him, and with his cuts to immigration and the fact that hes doing a fairly good job of setting new Canadians against even newer Canadians, hes creating divisions. Everything he comes out and talks about on immigration these days is cracking down on marriage fraud, cracking down on illegal refugees, cracking down on fraudsters . . . Its a whole negative. Wheres the positive? Wheres the nation-building? I remind Trudeau that all this talk about crackdowns has proven to be popular with newcomers to Canada. Kenney often makes mention of this in his public talks some of the people most opposed to immigration and refugee fraud are immigrants or refugees themselves. As Kenney explains, these hard-working people believe that they got to Canada by playing by the rules, and as such, are huge defenders of those very rules. Trudeau says thats not what hes hearing on the ground. Where is the care for the fact that Canada is one of the only countries in the world that has succeeded in having a greater than 80 per cent conversion from immigrant into citizen? I mean, thats something that we need to fight for. And I think Mr. Kenney is facing a tremendous backlash in a lot of the communities he made nice noises to. The true, Conservative colours are beginning to show. As the weeks started ticking down toward the deadline in the Liberal leadership contest, it became clear that Kenney was growing impatient at the prospect of mixing it up with Trudeau. Almost out of the blue, Kenney decided to launch an anti-Trudeau volley, with an email missive sent to the Conservatives favourite news outlet, Sun Media Corporation. Mr. Trudeau is not in touch with the values or the real issues that face ordinary Canadians, Kenney wrote. I dont really know what his background is. I dont think hes ever run anything. If I were a Liberal, as I used to be, I wouldnt be inclined to vote for a guy who has zero executive experience, zero governing
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experience and zero record of putting forward substantive ideas to address the tough issues of the day . . . In the several years that Ive been in Parliament with Justin Trudeau, I dont remember him saying a single serious thing about growth and job creation. The remarks stirred a small dust-up on social media, with Butts entering the fray on behalf of Trudeau, and Kaz Nejatian, Kenneys former communications adviser, piling in as well on behalf of his old boss. We had many smart critics, Nejatian proclaimed on Twitter. Justin was not one of them. Butts and others, meanwhile, poked fun at Kenneys own lack of experience before coming to government, and now that they mentioned it, Harpers as well. (Harpers last job, before running for leadership of the Canadian Alliance, was head of the National Citizens Coalition.) Butts and other Trudeau defenders asked how running Conservative think-tanks had prepared Harper or Kenney for the rigours of office. And just for good measure, Butts wished the Conservatives luck in attacking Trudeaus record as a teacher. A couple of weeks later, Kenney is the marquee speaker at the annual conference of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy. This gathering has come to be seen as a major event in the Conservatives calendar, where some of their leading thinkers come to share their thoughts. Kenney is one of the keynote speakers, and the room is packed for his afternoon address to the Conservative faithful on the subject of whether the party has room to grow. Funnily enough, even though the New Democrats are now the official Opposition and presumably better positioned to thwart hopes of Conservative growth Kenney has Trudeau on his mind. I had heard a rumour that Justin Trudeau was going to be speaking here at a panel on the struggles of the middle class, Kenney says, to much laughter from his audience. Disappointed to
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hear he didnt make it. Apparently the Manning Centre couldnt afford his usual $20,000 speaking fee. But demonstrating how in touch he is, Justin offered me the special offer, to go down to his special rate for school boards and hospital charities of only $15,000, and still it was too rich for the Manning Centre, sadly. These remarks go over well with the audience, naturally, and then Kenney goes out on the limb that proved so perilous for leadership candidate Martha Hall Findlay at a debate in Mississauga, when she questioned how Trudeau could be a spokesman for the middle class, given his upbringing. But friends, I think we should have some empathy for Justin. After all, he knows what its like, as a struggling middle class dad, to make difficult choices. Like, for example, without all those hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees that he earned during parliamentary business, how do you think he could have afforded those beautiful full-length, matching family fur coats? I mean this isnt easy.

Trudeau 2010 Christmas card (Photo: Courtesy Justin Trudeau)


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That last bit is a reference to a controversial Christmas card that Trudeau sent out in 2010, featuring the whole family draped in coyote fur. It got him in trouble with animal-rights activists, who wouldnt normally be seen in league with the Conservatives, but if Kenneys remarks are any indication, the Conservative war room is building a case against Trudeau as a spoiled little rich kid, able to afford fur coats for the whole family. No matter how much that may have backfired on Hall-Findlay during the debates (the Liberal crowd hissed and booed) the Conservatives have enjoyed some success casting Liberal leaders as out-of-touch elites. So it does not take much prognostication skill to predict that Trudeau will become fodder for the negative-ad machine. Its what Conservatives do to Liberal leaders, and theyve been devastatingly effective at it since 2006. With Trudeau, one has the sense that particularly ferocious attacks are coming. Theres something about me that makes them nutty, Trudeau himself said in late 2011. And no one can argue hes given them some ammunition, from some ill-advised remarks in 2010 about how Albertans (he says he meant Stephen Harper) were wrecking the country, to his bizarre, third-person soliloquy in the Commons foyer in 2012, rebutting those who doubted his federalism. The question is not why does Justin Trudeau suddenly not love this country because the question is ridiculous, Trudeau said, with dramatic pauses that put some in mind of his long-ago eulogy for his father. I live this country in my bones in every breath I take, and Im not going to stand here and somehow defend that I actually do love Canada because we know I love Canada. Over at Sun News Network, where its A-OK to give politicians insulting nicknames, the TV commentators like to dub Trudeau Shiny Pony some vague reference to a toy for little girls.
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It is notable, in fact, how often Trudeau comes in for the same kind of criticism that people used to reserve for women in politics. He is mocked for his hair and his appearance, ridiculed for his allegedly effeminate interest in yoga, drama and dance, and, of course, presented as someone who owes his place in politics to a man in his case, his father. He is often described by his first name alone (as former Conservative-turned-Liberal Belinda Stronach was), though Trudeau himself encourages that familiarity, with his leadership website called simply Justin.ca. Dominic LeBlanc is absolutely sure that the higher Trudeau climbs in the polls, the nastier the attacks will get. I fully expect the Conservatives to try and be very, very vicious, very nasty, very personal with him, he says. But LeBlanc is equally certain that Trudeau will be able to withstand the attack-brand politics in a way that his predecessors did not. The difference between him and the previous leaders, in my view, is he has a much more sophisticated political instinct than did the other leaders, he explains. Hes also very tough. He doesnt get destabilized by this stuff, so he will not be thrown off by the nasty onslaught that I think is inevitable. More importantly, LeBlanc believes, theres a bigger risk of backlash when it comes to attacks on Trudeau. Canadians have, I think, a much different attachment to him than our previous leaders. Hes not a blank slate. Hes not a guy that arrived from a foreign university or somebody who showed up in politics out of the blue after a debacle in a referendum. I think that he, Justin, is deeply deeply ingrained in the imagination of Canadians. Trudeau agrees that his childhood in the public spotlight has given him a certain resilience to attacks. People forget that I have been through this before many, many times, he says, pointing out that a good many people on his cam64

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paign team are former doubters. Im ready for massive amounts of negativity. Were already seeing it. Theyll go after just about anything they can. I know that everything and anything Ive ever done is probably going to come out. Everything? Ever since the Trudeau campaign began in earnest, there have been quiet whispers around Ottawa that a particularly nasty line of attack is being assembled by his most ruthless foes, that if theyre aiming for the gut, theyll go after his marriage. Its all just dark murmurs, vague rumblings of black operations to come, and Trudeaus obviously caught wind of them too. So when hes asked, he has an answer. I have an incredibly strong marriage with Sophie, he says, all trace of a smile gone from his face. Its a real marriage with ups and downs, but we love each other very much and thats all Im going to say about it. And thats all Im ever going to say about it. At the risk of getting a Brazeau-like blow to the head, I decide to risk pushing it just a little bit farther, only to ask, beyond the bravado, whether this line of attack could wound him. Im a human being. Its going to hurt. Its going to hurt me personally. To read terrible things about me, about my wife, about my kids, about my mom, about my dad, it always hurts. My capacity to take these things and slough them off doesnt mean I dont get angry and frustrated and say, Take down names and well remember. But Im human, yes. But I also know that it doesnt matter. And that I can I mean they want to get to me, and destabilize me, and theyre not going to be able to, because I know that Canadians are better than these guys think they are. Grgoire, for her part, says she is under no illusions about the attacks to come. During the campaign, she made a conscious decision not to read any reports of how her husbands rivals were portraying him. Should he win the leadership, however, she knows
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that she will move more into the public spotlight and into the hothouse of Ottawa gossip. This is a world, after all, where Stephen and Laureen Harpers marriage is a constant source of whispers as well. Asked how shell react if her own marriage becomes fodder in the political fray, Grgoire says simply: Let them try. OK, then. Leaving aside these threatened attacks, however, there are the real darts that are already being fired at him the withering mockery, the portrayal of him as an empty-headed, entitled pretty boy. The oldest, oft-repeated slams against him are variations of where he swims in the parental gene pool. Hes his mothers son, is the common line an allusion to Margaret Trudeaus very public battles with mental illness and not-ready-for-prime-time celebrity in her early days of marriage to the prime minister. Trudeau has heard this so often that he makes reference to it in his speeches. And when hes asked privately how he likes being described as a guy with his fathers charisma and mothers brains, he offers a slightly longer version of what he tells his audiences. I am incredibly proud of being as much my Mom as I am my Dad, he says. As a teacher I thought a lot about what cognitive processes define us and how we learn and how we function. My father was brilliant in his intellectual rigour, in his capacity to work, and to drive through a problem. And it made him extremely, extremely strong intellectually and academically, but it left him a little short on some of the interpersonal skills, the emotional intelligence. Hes describing the dad we got a glimpse of in that long-ago speech in Strathroy the politician who was gazing through the car window, abstractedly wondering about the lives and loves of the people who voted for him. His son, in the 21st century, says he needs to draw on a different kind of intelligence to understand the
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modern political landscape. Trudeau says that for these skills, he looks to what his mother has given him too. My father built a shell. My mom wears her heart on her sleeve, and its her greatest strength. My mom is also about flashes of brilliance rather than the deep, sometimes almost plodding intelligence of my father, and Im happy to draw on both. I draw on my moms emotional intelligence, and the capacity to connect, and draw, and learn from people and be open to people. And thats something Im incredibly proud of. As a leader, in other words, this Trudeau would be a bit of both parents, and also a product of his own experience. And that, for a 41-year-old politician, is a work in progress.

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Whos the Boss

If his old friend Dominic LeBlanc is right, Canadians already think they know who Justin Trudeau is. But that popular image is largely hinged on his identity as a son, or a husband, or a political celebrity. Where things get a lot fuzzier is in the realm of leadership. What kind of boss would he be? What do we know about Justin Trudeau, the man who will be in charge of 76 MPs and senators, hundreds of Liberal staffers and thousands and thousands more party supporters if he wins the prize? For what its worth, Trudeau believes that Stephen Harper is a good leader and a good manager. I think hes very good at both, though his type of leadership is one that I dont agree with, Trudeau says. Hes certainly a very intelligent man, who is deeply committed to his personal goals. I just find that for me, his goals are mostly about continuing to govern and not about what that governance looks like and what values its based on. And that for me isnt the kind of leadership I believe in. Leadership should be about getting people to offer the very best to the project youre in charge of as a leader. And that means getting Canadians, getting MPs, getting the experts and the scientists all pulling together to build a vision for the country. If he has to pick a prime ministers shoes to fill, Trudeau chooses Wilfrid Laurier, Canadas seventh prime minister, who presided over the country from 1896 to 1911. The Canadian Encyclopedia sums him up this way: A skilful and pragmatic politician with a charismatic personality and a fervent promoter of national unity at a time of radical change and worsening cultural conflict. Laurier was a fan of what he called sunny ways, often telling his audience the old fable about the sun and the wind arguing over how powerful they were. To settle the matter, they would see which one
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could take off a travellers coat. While the wind howled and blew chilly blasts, the sun simply shone bright, and the traveller took off his coat himself. If it were in my power, I would try the sunny way, Laurier would say. In a speech in December 2012, Trudeau went on at some length about his prime ministerial hero, and about how Lauriers brand of politics, compromise and sunny ways was an antidote to the cynicism and divisiveness of 21st-century Canadian politics. For it is not the political class, but the middle class, that unites this country, Trudeau said. There are already too many forces in the world that drive us into separate camps, that isolate us, and make us suspicious of one another. But because Trudeau hasnt had a whole lot of experience in management or leadership, political or otherwise, to divine what kind of boss he would be you have to start with how hes presided over things in his political career to date. His friend Tom Pitfield says that every hard decision on the campaign, from deciding to run to whether to support the Nexen takeover, was made by Trudeau himself. I think people take for granted how hard it can be to make decisions that affect your family and a whole lot of other people too, Pitfield observes. Katie Telford says Trudeau has high expectations of himself and others, but he also enjoys helping to solve a problem. Hes adept at seeing politics through the eyes of the voters or people who havent been following the story so far, she adds, and will often take apart speeches or political statements to make them flow more like a story, with a beginning, middle and end. From all accounts, he treats his staff well and has little time for MPs who are known to throw temper tantrums with their employees. He once confessed that this was his biggest surprise on entering the workplace culture on Parliament Hill: the number of colleagues who managed their underlings through shouting fits or
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Justin Trudeau

intimidation. When the Liberals were bumped out of official Opposition and down to third place in the Commons after the 2011 election, they also lost all their prime real estate in the office space on Parliament Hill. Trudeau was one of the ones evicted, landing in much smaller quarters in the Confederation Building. He wasnt too fussed, apparently. When it came time to divvying up the three rooms, the boss took the smallest office, figuring that the people who spent the most time on Parliament Hill needed the most room. He is without exception the hardest-working colleague I have in that caucus, LeBlanc says. He never complains about a day of six or seven events. And he has no vanity about hard work. Those who have seen Trudeau on the job repeatedly attest to his low-key diligence, LeBlanc says. Theres a deep affection for him, born from the sense that theres no sense of arrogance, theres no sense of special status at all, and theres a hell of a big work output. Trudeau is not a micromanager, says Navdeep Bains, who kept the candidate updated on the campaign organization. He calls a spade a spade. Hes very candid. But hes fair. Theres a fair amount of trust. He wanted to know stuff, Id give him updates, but he never micromanaged me. If you are competent and capable, he would let you run with it. Trudeau himself dubs his leadership style the helicopter approach a term he learned from his pal James Curleigh, a Canadian who is now based in San Francisco as executive vice president and president of the Levis brand at Levi-Strauss & Co. Trudeau met Curleigh when he was the CEO of Salomon North America Inc., maker of skis, snowboards and other outdoor products, and they formed a fast friendship that continues to this day and includes joint holidays. You think about the big picture, Trudeau says, explaining what hes learned about leadership styles from Curleigh. You
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think about the tone youre setting. You think about everything. . . . And you have a good view of the entire battlefield. The helicopter leader only descends when theres a problem, Trudeau explains (helpfully providing the sound effects of chopper blades to accompany the swooping hand gestures). When theres a problem, you get down, jump out, deal with it. Then you get right back up. Trudeau says that on any issue, he needs to break the discussion down into three parts: the theory, the science or evidence on how it works in practice, and then the political ramifications. His brother Sacha spoke at Justin and Sophies wedding about how his brother was a patient teacher with his two younger siblings, no matter how much they exasperated him. Its there, perhaps, that he got his first taste of being a teacher, and theres still a bit of educator in him as he pursues his political life. Telford sees that in the way he wants to organize his speeches for his listeners. He can be particular about how he wants paperwork presented to him, those close to him say. If Trudeau needs a briefing note on a particular issue, he will dictate the precise way in which he wants to receive it. He explains that this is because hes done quite a bit of thinking about how he thinks a reflection of his fathers rigorous instruction and also because of his own studies in education. Trudeau, like his dad, was Jesuit-trained in his early schooling, a systemized form of learning that places great emphasis on linear analysis. If I dont understand something I dont retain it, Trudeau explains. I mean thats how I worked as a student. I have to see the logical links. Because Im very aware of how my brain works, and it works through understanding (not memorization). If I dont understand something I wont retain it. He readily admits that his father was quicker at logic than he is. Pierre Trudeau could take the ABCs of a problem and quickly get to the WXYZ, while simultaneously spotting the flaws along the
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way. I tend to joke that I can make it up to about L, M, N before I need a little more time to dig into it, Trudeau says. But he likes a logical challenge. While being driven around to campaign events, hed often grab the iPad to figure out the shortest route to their destination.

Justin Trudeau on the road (Photo: Adam Scotti/Courtesy Justin Trudeau)

Back in university, on road trips with Butts and other pals, they invented their own game to keep them amused in the car, involving a complex set of questions around history trivia and logic. They played it so often that they called it simply The Game. And to this day, when hes on vacation or on long trips, Trudeau will often be working away at math and logic puzzles, Grgoire says,
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scribbling away in those softcover puzzle magazines you can buy at the newsstand. As well, Trudeau is fond of sketching landscapes or pictures composed entirely of pencil dots pointillist creations which, to her mind, show some artistic promise. It will take him hours, Grgoire says. And the final product? I keep telling him, just change careers. Become an artist. He reads a lot, friends and family report. Dsire McGraw says that when Trudeau is trying to get his head around policy, he delves into the reading material, then refines his thoughts and opinions through conversations. In her job at the Jeanne Sauv Foundation, which includes presiding over its program of visiting international scholars, shes watched Trudeau numerous times in spirited discussion with the academics. He is an interactive learner, McGraw says. He reads a lot, and he is also extroverted. Once hes really grasped something and made up his mind about something, hes generally good at communicating that in a way that people can understand. Beyond the reading matter he has to digest for work, his typical reading material is a blend of fiction and non-fiction, though Grgoire suspects he prefers fiction more (unlike her shes a nonfiction fan). When asked in March what hed read lately, Trudeau said hed been enjoying Chrystia Freelands book Plutocrats, as well as Taras Grescoes Strap Hanger. Hed also just finished The Heart and the Fist, by Eric Greitens, a former Navy SEAL. Greitens, according to Trudeau is going to be a president in 10 years . . . Look forward to maybe working with him one day if everything works out on both of our ends. He was also in the midst of getting through Ken Folletts Century trilogy; Trudeau had read the first two of the novels and was getting started on the third. An early adopter of email, he was featured in a 1998 story in the Star as someone who extolled its virtues to his mother. Trudeau, the eldest son of former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and
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Justin Trudeau

Margaret Kemper, made his mother promise shed learn how to use Internet email to stay in touch, the story reported. If hes having a casual drink in a bar (Jim Beam on the rocks is a favourite), he is likely to be talking to the crowd and consulting his BlackBerry at the same time, tapping out messages to friends or Tweets and Facebook updates. He doesnt like sugar there was no cake at their wedding and he doesnt drink coffee. Ive had maybe three cups of coffee in my life, he says, screwing up his face at the mere thought of it. He boxes and does yoga for exercise, unless hes on some extremesport vacation with the family. In the past year or so, the young Trudeau family has become very fond of surfing, on top of their usual repertoire of skiing, snowboarding and other active, outdoor pursuits. The real, extreme sport for Trudeau at the moment, though, is running for leader, plunging into the tumultuous waters of Liberal politics and staying on the crest of whatever wave it is that has taken the 41-year-old this far. And winning is only the first step, his friend Pitfield says. Its mile one in the marathon, Butts agrees. On a flight from Halifax to Toronto late one night in March, Trudeau playfully scribbled just watch me to a passenger who inquired whether he could defeat Stephen Harper. The phrase was borrowed, of course, from his fathers famous declaration before he brought down the War Measures Act in 1970. And just watch me turned out to be fitting description of Pierre Trudeaus brand of politics distant, often remote from the people who voted for him, except on the rare occasions when the prime minister thought to look out the car window and watch back. Just watching, however, is not a political style either available
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Justin Trudeau

or suited to his eldest son. Whatever happens next, this Trudeau has already gone some distance to meet those Canadians whose lives were a mystery to his father 30 years ago. And many of them have come out to meet him, too, in those crowded food courts and community halls. Canada has changed a lot since 1983, and so have the Trudeaus.

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Susan Delacourt is a senior writer in the Toronto Stars Ottawa bureau, who has been covering politics on Parliament Hill since the 1980s (or, if you prefer, five leaders ago.) She has written two books on Liberal politicians, including Juggernaut (2003), a story of Paul Martins long leadership quest, and in 2011 Delacourt received the Charles Lynch award for career-long reporting on Parliament Hill.

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2013 Toronto Star Newspapers Limited All rights reserved. Published in Canada by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited under the imprint StarDispatches. Toronto Star Newspapers Limited One Yonge St. Toronto, ON M5E 1E6 Publisher: John D. Cruickshank Editor: Michael Cooke StarDispatches: Editorial Director: Alison Uncles Project Editor: Susan Renouf Copy Editor: Shauna Rempel Creative Director: Nuri Ducassi Page Design: Anda Lupascu Justin Trudeau: Can he bring the Liberal Party back to life? ISBN: ePub3 978-0-88785-586-3 Mobi978-0-88785-587-0 webPDF978-0-88785-588-7 Cover photo: Adam Scotti StarDispatches is a weekly series of quality journalism in ebook form from the newsroom of the Toronto Star, Canadas largest newspaper. Please visit us at stardispatches.com

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