Thursday, May 12, 2005

Justin Trudeau says the Liberals could use some time in the wilderness

Thanks to Kinsella for this.

Justin Trudeau says he fears renewal of separatism in ugly political climate (Trudeau-Future)
Source: The Canadian Press
May 11, 2005 17:42

By Dennis Bueckert

OTTAWA (CP) - Justin Trudeau says the Liberals could use some time in the wilderness.

"That was one of my father's tricks to stay grounded, and it's certainly one of mine,'' Trudeau said Wednesday. "You get back out of the woods, you regain a certain amount of perspective.''

The son of one of Canada's most charismatic and controversial prime ministers said the political situation today is "ugly.''

He said the sponsorship scandal is evidence of sloppiness in a government that has lacked serious opposition for too long.

"I'd like to see the Conservatives come back to being a strong, credible, national force,'' he said as he fielded questions on a visit to Parliament Hill.

"I don't think the way they are right now they're going to be able to do that.''

The Liberals missed a chance for renewal when Jean Chretien stepped down as Liberal leader and prime minister, he said.

Of particular worry to the younger Trudeau is the rise of the sovereignty movement since the sponsorship mess.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau was obsessed by national unity and defeated the sovereigntists in the 1980 referendum but he never decisively conquered separatism.

"That's one of the things that really scares me right now,'' said the younger Trudeau. "I think we are far closer to the separation of Quebec than we have been for a very long time and I don't think anyone in Ottawa particularly, but in the rest of Canada, is aware or ready to deal with it.''

With the complexion of an outdoorsman and the tousled mane of a rebel, Trudeau radiates health, idealism and the charisma of his father.

But the 33-year-old readily concedes he's too young and inexperienced yet to jump into the fray.

"I'm talking about life experience, I'm talking about depth, I'm talking about a lot of things to learn, a lot of things to understand.

"My own core values are very much in place, but to look at how to make the transition between what you believe into actual policy and actual real decisions, I'm a long way from being able to do that. . . . I'm so young still. It'll take some time.''

He says he's serving his country through his leadership of the Katimavik youth program, which enlists young volunteers to do community service across Canada.

"I will be involved in making a difference and effecting change as much as I can for the rest of my life. Will it end up with me being here (Parliament)? Maybe. I've always said maybe.

"But I'm a long way from that and I'm a long way from being ready for that, and I'm a long way from wanting to do it right now.

"There have to be some serious changes in me and in this place before we're a proper fit.''

Amen. It's time for Liberals to be liberals once again. Not a group of arrogant, corrupt, politicos. I don't know if Justin is the guy to help re-new the party (Michael Ignatieff?), but there are many Liberals (like myself) who long to see ideas and values drive policy rather than raw politics.

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