POLITICS

Justin Trudeau Leadership Bid: Warren Kinsella Says He's Running

08/30/2012 11:56 EDT
CP

Justin Trudeau will run for the Liberal leadership, according to party insider Warren Kinsella.

Kinsella, who served as an advisor in Jean Chretien's government and made an unsuccessful run for Parliament in 1997, posted on his blog Wednesday that he has been "informed" that Trudeau will make a bid for the top job, but with an unusual strategy.

Trudeau's campaign wants a team entirely composed of people under the age of 40, according to Kinsella.

It's no secret that at age 40 himself, Trudeau is one of the most youth-oriented MPs in the House of Commons. He is the Liberal Party critic for Youth, Post Secondary Education and Amateur Sports and served as the chair of the party's youth task force in 2006. He has also been an outspoken critic of the government's decision to cut funding to Katimavik, the youth work service program created during his father's time as prime minister, where he was chair from 2002 through 2006.

Trudeau has been laying down hints that if he does run for the leadership, the political involvement of young people will be a key part of his campaign.

"We don’t need our young people to be leaders of tomorrow,” Trudeau said during a speech in Burlington in June, according to the Toronto Star. “We need them to understand that they are already leaders of today — that everything they know, everything they have, everything they do has an impact today."

Ever since interim Leader Bob Rae announced in June that he will not be seeking the permanent leadership, there has been intense speculation surrounding whether Trudeau will step up and run.

He has said repeatedly that he has not made up his mind and will be taking the summer to spend time with his family and carefully consider his decision.

If he does choose to run, the odds are favourable.

A poll in June from The Canadian Press and Harris Decima found Trudeau was far and away the most popular of the prospective leadership candidates with Canadians. HuffPost Canada contributor, and creator of the polling website ThreeHundredEight.com, Eric Grenier has called Trudeau the "obvious front-runner."

Despite possible challenges from former astronaut and Liberal MP Marc Garneau and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's brother David (among many others), and a confirmed run from Deborah Coyne (who had a child with Trudeau's father), the press seems to have all but anointed the MP for Papineau leader.

Earlier this month, HuffPost took a look at the 11 most ridiculously flattering things the media has said about Trudeau, where comments from Kinsella, a contributor to Sun News, figured prominently (see the slideshow here).

Writing in the Toronto Sun in June, Kinsella outlined 10 reasons why Trudeau should be leader, with his youth and beauty figuring prominently as arguments.

However, while youth (and definitely beauty) may be advantages for Trudeau, many see his relative inexperience as being one of his greatest obstacles to winning the Grit leadership.

The Star's Susan Delacourt has described how Trudeau still gives speeches in "a style that hovers between freewheeling conversation and undisciplined rambles" and Postmedia's Michael Den Tandt has questioned what substantive contribution the MP for Papineau has made to political policy, arguing he's simply not ready to lead the Liberals.

Even if Trudeau does become leader, it seems highly unlikely he'll become prime minister any time soon.

With the Conservatives and NDP in a neck-and-neck contest at the top of the polls, the Liberals don't seem to have much of a shot at winning the next federal election in 2015.

Many in the media have speculated that Trudeau may hold off until after the next election to make his move, while others have said now is clearly his moment and that the race in 2015 will be the perfect venue for the MP to prove he is prime minister material for 2019.

Kinsella has made the claim that Trudeau will run before. As Stephen Neil pointed out on Twitter Wednesday, Kinsella also posted on June 6 that Trudeau would be running only to have the MP declare that he hadn't made up his mind the following week.

Perhaps Kinsella has just been right all along and Trudeau is simply being coy. However, it looks like we may have to wait to find out.

On Thursday, CTV's Don Martin tweeted that Trudeau told him he will not be announcing a leadership decision at next week's Liberal caucus meeting in Montebello, Que.

If Trudeau does decide not to run that will be the story that kicks off the campaign and it may hurt the chances other Liberal hopefuls have at rebuilding the party's damaged brand. The longer he waits, the greater the chance that the story of his decision begins to overshadow the race itself.

The Liberals are scheduled to pick a new leader at a convention in April.

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