MONTREAL – Hoping to turn around the fortunes of Canada’s once-dominant Liberal Party, the eldest son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau announced Tuesday evening he was following his father’s footsteps and launching his bid to obtain the party’s leadership.
Justin Trudeau, 40, a charismatic member of Parliament since 2008, made the announcement in front of hundreds of supporters packing a community center in his Montreal district, ending days of speculation and adding sizzle to the political contest which officially begins next month and ends in April 2013.
Many Liberals hoped Trudeau would run for the leadership of a party that ruled Canada for much of the last century but was relegated to third-party status in the last election.
“I am in love with Canada. I want to dedicate my life to serve it,” Trudeau said in French.
Pierre Trudeau, who died at age 80 in 2000, was prime minister for almost all of a 16-year stretch from 1968-84. Trudeau’s sophisticated, sometimes irreverent style fascinated and captivated his country.
Justin Trudeau was born while his father was prime minister, on Christmas Day, 1971.
He said Tuesday he’s determined to breathe new life into a party he says has lost touch with middle-class Canadians. He said Canadian families have seen their incomes stagnant, their costs go up and their debts explode.