Former prime minister Jean Chrétien helped bolster the Liberal leadership campaign of Justin Trudeau on Friday, telling reporters the young Montreal MP would be "a good candidate."
The former Liberal prime minister also proactively shored up what could be seen as a weakness in Trudeau's campaign: the sense that it's too soon for the young father to reach for the top job.
"He's been elected twice so far," Chrétien pointed out. "It's one more time than his father [Pierre Trudeau] when he became the [Liberal] leader."
"[Stephen] Harper had been elected once only when he became the leader. He had no experience. He was younger than Trudeau," Chrétien added. "Joe Clark the same thing. [David] Cameron in England, the same thing."
"Only me had a lot of experience to become prime minister," he said, laughing. "[Pierre] Trudeau was elected once and he became Prime Minister. I had to wait 30 years of hard work to get the job."
Chrétien served as a cabinet minister under former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.
It's not the first time the veteran politician has spoken favourably about the younger Trudeau, telling host Evan Solomon on CBC Radio's The House in June that the two Trudeaus are "definitely different," but that Justin Trudeau "has proven himself in some way."
"You know, rather than run in a safe seat, he had to run in a difficult seat," Chrétien said in June of Justin Trudeau's Papineau riding in Montreal. "He won and defeated the Bloc, and he's the only one who increased his majority."
Chrétien is not expected to endorse any particular leadership candidate outright, as is the tradition for former leaders of the party.
France Chrétien Desmarais, Chrétien's daughter, became a member of the Order of Canada at a ceremony in Ottawa on Friday. The citation lauded her community involvement and philanthropy.
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Liberal Leadership Race 2013
Here are the remaining candidates for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Age: 40 Occupation: MP for Montreal-area riding of Papineau <a href="http://justin.ca/en/">Website</a>
Age: 58 Occupation: Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra, former B.C. Liberal environment minister <a href="http://joycemurray.liberal.ca/">Website</a>
Martha Hall Findlay
Age: 53 Occupation: Former Liberal MP for Willowdale and 2006 leadership candidate <a href="http://www.marthahallfindlay.ca/">Website</a>
Age: 50 Occupation: Lawyer, former Montreal Liberal MP <a href="http://martincauchon.ca/">Website</a>
Age: 57 Occupation: Lawyer, professor <a href="http://www.deborahcoyne.ca/">Website</a>
Occupation: A retired Lieutenant-Colonel in the Canadian forces and mediator. <a href="http://karenforcanada.ca/" target="_hplink">Website</a>
<a href="http://www.angus-reid.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/2012.09.25_PMs_CAN.pdf">Data comes from an Angus Reid online poll</a> of 1,510 Canadian adults taken from August 30 - August 31, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
8 (Tie) - John Turner - 1 per cent
Served from June 30, 1984 - September 17, 1984.
8 (Tie) - Kim Campbell - 1 per cent
Served from June 25, 1993 - November 4, 1993.
6. Joe Clark - 2 per cent
Served from June 4, 1979 - March 3, 1980.
5. Paul Martin - 4 per cent
Served from 2003- 2006
4. Brian Mulroney - 5 per cent
Served from 1984 - 1993.
3. Jean Chrétien - 11 per cent
Served from 1993- 2003.
2. Stephen Harper - 16 per cent
Has served from 2006 - present.
Not Sure - 24 per cent
1. Pierre Trudeau - 36 per cent
Served from 1968 - 1979 and from 1980 - 1984.