Trudeaumania redux in Mississauga
It was Trudeaumania redux.
Newly minted Liberal leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau held court in front of about 1000 packed into a Mississauga banquet hall Thursday night.
Rows of smiling volunteers, including many in their teens & 20s wearing white T-shirts emblazoned with Trudeau's web site helped usher people into the hall. Inside, people crowded around the doorway where Trudeau would eventually enter, clutching cameras & smart phones, elbowing for a clear shot.
In the 30 minutes before Trudeau took the stage, there were couple attempts at chants of his name that never really got off the ground.
Once on stage, Justin Trudeau said the intense media spotlight on him in recent days isn't really about him, but about Canadians' dissatisfaction with the government. Still, he says Canadians are hopeful they've found "something better".
Trudeau says Liberals have to take the opportunity to show Canadians the now 3rd party has learned from the past, but is 100% focused on the country's future.
Trudeau's 30 minute speech focused on the same themes from other events in Papineau & Calgary this week.
The wannabe Liberal leader opened with a call to re-engage young Canadians. The 40-year old believes that younger generations aren't just the future, but "an essential element of our present". Speaking with reporters , Trudeau says he plans to engage young voters by listening, giving them a voice &allowing them to be part of future building.
On the economy, Trudeau points to a thriving, energetic & entrepreneurial middle class, able to cope with the challenges of modern life as the key to growth, opportunity & progress.
Trudeau worries though that the middle class is being squeezed out---debts & costs are rising while incomes stagnate. He says most Canadians probably think the country's economy is doing pretty well, but couldn't say the same for their households. Trudeau points out more & more GTA families are finding home ownership to be out of reach.
After his speech in front of an ethnically diverse crowd, Trudeau hinted that new Canadians haven't been well-served by the government. He says at first, the Conservatives seemed to be saying all the right things, but now the tone has turned "hugely negative". Trudeau says new Canadians don't think the Tories believe in them & it's starting to show.
So far, Trudeau has been short on specifics for his vision for Canada, but volunteers that he doesn't claim to have all the answers. He believes the country has had enough of "that kind of politics".
As for critics who may say he lacks substance, Trudeau says they'l have the next 6 months of the leadership race & hopefully years after that to watch him & the solutions the party will build. In Mississauga, Trudeau says he has nothing to prove.