01/31/2013 07:00 EST | Updated 04/02/2013 05:12 EDT

Justin Trudeau, fellow candidates campaign in Manitoba

Federal Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau stopped in Brandon Thursday afternoon on the first stop of his campaign tour through rural Manitoba.

Trudeau spoke at Brandon University Thursday afternoon, in hopes of garnering votes to take the reins of the federal Liberals.

He said he wants to work with Manitobans on aboriginal issues as well as natural resource and agricultural policies. He’s said he’s also hoping to combat voter apathy.

“We need to get out and reconnect and draw people in,” said Trudeau.

“Liberals have lost relevance because we turn in on ourselves rather than turn out,” he added.

The federal Liberals were reduced to third-party status in the last election, and in provincially in Manitoba they hold only one seat.

Carissa Taylor said she came to see if Trudeau had substance as a candidate.

“His target was to get 70 per cent of people who want access to post-secondary education, access,” said Taylor.

Taylor asked the leadership-hopeful how he was going to do it.

“He didn’t give me any idea of how he would do it,” she said.

If Taylor decides not to vote for Trudeau in the upcoming leadership bid, she, like other Liberals, will have eight other candidates to choose from.

All of them are in Manitoba for a leadership debate scheduled for Saturday in Winnipeg.

The eight other candidates are all making appearances across the Prairies over the next few days.

David Bertschi was slated to speak at Brandon’s Canad Inns hotel, Martha Hall-Findlay was scheduled to appear at the University of Manitoba and candidate Deborah Coyne visited Selkirk.

Friday evening, Martin Cauchon was slated to appear at East India Company in Winnipeg, and former astronaut Marc Garneau and Joyce Murray had appearances scheduled over the weekend.

Trudeau has the biggest name in the race, but political science professor Kelly Saunders said voters will be looking for more than a familiar smile.

“You can’t pin your hopes on personality,” said Saunders.

All of the candidates will have to be clear about policy ideas, Saunders said. “People don’t have a sense of what they stand for or who they are so that really is the challenge for the liberals.”

In this weekend’s debate, candidates will get a chance to voice those ideas. Each will be interviewed for 11 minutes by the moderator in an attempt to get ideas flowing and hopefully rebuild the party.