Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Jeff Paterson

GET UPDATES FROM Jeff Paterson
 

Four Myths About Justin Trudeau Debunked

Posted: 03/21/2013 5:47 pm

Justin Trudeau is about to head into the national Liberal leadership vote heavily ahead of the competition, with little changing since he first announced his running back in the fall. Momentum surrounding Trudeau has been evident for years now, people anticipating the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, argued by some as the greatest Prime Minister of all-time in Canada to make a run, and with the Harper government seemingly on the ropes and as vulnerable as ever, many believe the time is now.

While Trudeau has made astronomical inroads in rebuilding the image of his party within Canada, where many of the party's supporters jumped ship in the past elections to the NDP, there are still those hesitant in coming back. Below are several of the most often used reasons, and perhaps some perspective on addressing those reasons and hopefully alleviating some of the hesitation in supporting another Trudeau to right the ship and lead the new Liberals in the 2015 election.

BLOG CONTINUES AFTER SLIDESHOW

Loading Slideshow...
  • Prime Minister Trudeau and his then-wife Margaret leave the city's Notre Dame Basilica Sunday afternoon after the christening of their 22-day old infant Justin Pierre James, Jan. 16, 1972. Tasseled shawls kept the baby hidden from photographers and the 10-degree-below-zero weather.

  • Eleven-month-old Justin Trudeau, urged on by his mother Margaret Trudeau, crawls up the steps of an aircraft in Ottawa Dec. 5, 1972 to meet his father, then-prime minister, Pierre Trudeau on his return from Britain.

  • Pierre Trudeau is saluted by RCMP Officer as he carries son Justin to Rideau Hall in 1973. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/02/14/justin-trudeau-cries-cried-photo-loyalist-college_n_2690299.html">Justin Trudeau teared up when he was presented with a framed copy while visiting Loyalist College in 2013</a>.

  • Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau delivers a right hook to his older brother Justin during a play fight in 1980 at Ottawa airport as the boys await a flight with the return of their father, then-prime minister, Pierre Trudeau. Nobody was injured. Justin was born in 1971 and Sacha in 1973 - both on Christmas day.

  • March 1979 photo of the Trudeau children: Michel (front), Alexandre (Sacha) and Justin (rear).

  • It was a big day for Dad, but a long day for the three Trudeau children. Left to right, Justin, Michel and Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau attended the swearing in ceremonies of their father Pierre Elliott Trudeau as Prime Minister March 3, 1980 at Government House.

  • Then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau and 10 year-old son Justin walk toward a plane at CFB Ottawa on Nov. 7, 1982.

  • Then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau, left, watches as his 11-year-old son Justin swings on a chain during a tour of an old fort in the Omani town of Nizwa Dec. 2, 1983. Trudeau and Justin spent the day visiting the towns of Jebel and Nizwa 165 kilometres south of Muscat.

  • Then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau's 11-year-old son Justin jumps off an old cannon while visiting a fort along with his father in the Omani town of Nizwa and Jebel.

  • Justin Trudeau and friend Mathieu Walker in the Sahara desert in October, 1994.

  • Justin Trudeau and friend Mathieu Walker in the Sahara desert in October, 1994.

  • Justin Trudeau with friends Mathieu Walker and Allen Steverman in Shanghai in 1994.

  • Justin Trudeau with friends Mathieu Walker (left) and Allen Steverman (centre) at the Great Wall of China in 1994.

  • Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau (L), his son, Alexandre (Sacha), ex-wife Margaret Kemper and son Justin weep as they leave a memorial service for their son Michel in Montreal in 1998. Michel Trudeau drowned after being swept into a lake during an avalanche in British Columbia.

  • Justin (left) and Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau lean out of the funeral train to show appreciation to mourners who turned out to pay their respects to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau in Dorval, Que., Monday Oct. 2, 2000. Trudeau's casket was moved from Ottawa to Montreal for a state funeral. ()

  • Justin Trudeau is consoled by his mother Margaret after reading the eulogy for his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau during his state funeral in Montreal, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2000.

  • Justin Trudeau delivers a eulogy for his late father Pierre Trudeau during the state funeral for the former prime minister at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2000. Trudeau first caught the public heartstrings in October 2000, when he delivered a moving, deeply felt eulogy for his legendary father, weaving an emotional spell from inside the cavernous Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal.

  • Justin Trudeau breaks down on his father's casket after reading the eulogy during the state funeral for former prime minister Pierre Trudeau Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2000 in Montreal.

  • Justin Trudeau gives a rose to a young girl, one of thousands of mourners who stood outside Notre-Dame Basillica in Montreal Tuesday, October 3, 2000 during a state funeral for his father, former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

  • An enthusiastic Justin Trudeau talks to reporters during a news conference to promote avalanche awareness in West Vancouver Thursday Jan. 25, 2001.

  • Justin Trudeau stands at the base of a mountain near the evidence of a controlled avalanche at Lake Louise, Alberta, Friday January 12, 2002.

  • Trudeau with adviser and friend Gerald Butts in July 2003 at Virginia Falls, Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories.

  • Justin Trudeau carves through a gate during a celebrity slalom race in Mont Tremblant, Que. Friday, Dec. 12, 2003. Trudeau was taking part in a 24-hour ski-a-thon for charity organized by Jacques Villeneuve and Villeneuve's manager Craig Pollock.

  • Justin Trudeau spoke to students as Sisler High School about the benefits of joining the Katimavik Project on March 9, 2004

  • Justin Trudeau, son of the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau, leaves with his new bride Sophie Gregoire in his father's 1959 Mercedes 300 SEL after their marriage ceremony in Montreal Saturday, May 28, 2005.

  • Sophie Gregoire waves to the crowd as she arrives for her wedding to Justin Trudeau, son of the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau, in Montreal Saturday, May 28, 2005.

  • Then-leadership candidate Stéphane Dion crosses paths with Justin Trudeau, a supporter of Gerard Kennedy, at the Liberal Leadership Convention on Nov. 30, 2006 in Montreal. The day after he won the leadership, Dion told Trudeau he needed his help and urged him to run.

  • Former prime minister Jean Chretien meets Justin Trudeau at the Liberal leadership convention, Friday, Dec. 1, 2006, in Montreal.

  • Justin Trudeau poses in London, Ont., on Tuesday, June 5, 2007 with a group of youth who participated in the Katimavik national youth service program that he has been actively involved in. The funny faces came from a request by a parent taking a photograph.

  • Justin Trudeau raises his arms in victory after being voted in as the Liberal representative in Montreal's Papineau riding, on April 29, 2007.

  • Justin Trudeau, then Liberal candidate for the riding of Papineau, on the campaign trail with his mother, Margaret, in Montreal on Sept. 23, 2008. Trudeau snatched the riding from the Bloc Québécois by 1,189 votes.

  • Liberal Justin Trudeau, then a candidate in the riding of Papineau, on the campaign trail in Montreal, Tuesday Sept. 23, 2008 with his mother, Margaret.

  • Then-Liberal Leader Stephane Dion chats with Justin Trudeau in Vancouver before boarding the campaign plane to fly to Ontario, Oct. 7, 2008.

  • Justin Trudeau apologizes for swearing at Environment Minister Peter Kent in the House of Commons Dec. 14, 2011.

  • Justin Trudeau poses in this official photo for his boxing match with Senator Patrick Brazeau.

  • Senator Patrick Brazeau, right, and Liberal MP Justin Trudeau take part in a weigh-in for a upcoming boxing match Wednesday March 28, 2012.

  • Senator Patrick Brazeau, right, and Liberal MP Justin Trudeau take part in a weigh-in for a upcoming boxing match Wednesday March 28, 2012, in Ottawa.

  • Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, left, fights Senator Patrick Brazeau during charity boxing match for cancer research Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Ottawa.

  • Senator Patrick Brazeau, right, and Liberal MP Justin Trudeau take part in a charity boxing match for cancer research Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Ottawa .

  • Liberal MP Justin Trudeau celebrates after he defeated Senator Patrick Brazeau during charity boxing match for cancer research Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Ottawa .

  • Liberal MP Justin Trudeau kisses his wife Sophie Grégoire after winning a boxing match against Senator Patrick Brazeau on Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Ottawa.

  • Liberal MPs, including Justin Trudeau, look on as Senator Patrick Brazeau holds a Liberal hockey sweater on Parliament Hill Ottawa, Monday April 2, 2012.

  • Liberal MP Justin Trudeau trims the end of Senator Patrick Brazeau's pony tail out of respect in the Foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill Ottawa, Monday April 2, 2012.

  • Liberal MP Justin Trudeau announces he will seek the leadership of the party at a news conference, Tuesday, October 2, 2012 in Montreal.

  • Liberal MP Justin Trudeau waves to the crowd of supporters as he holds his son Xavier and his wife Sophie Gregoire holds their daughter Ella-Grace after announcing he will seek the leadership of the party Tuesday, October 2, 2012 in Montreal.

  • Justin Trudeau, right, chats to his chief advisor Gerald Butts after taking part in the the Liberal leadership debate in Mississauga, Ont., on Saturday, February 16, 2013.

  • Marc Garneau, left, and Justin Trudeau take part in the Liberal leadership debate in Mississauga, Ont., on Feb. 16, 2013.


1) He's just a clone of his father and not his own person

While Trudeau is blessed with having a family name and direct bloodline to Pierre, there are many who hold ill feelings towards the elder for the way he ran the country, policies he laid forward and the legacy he left behind. Sure, it is fair to believe that someone with a family connection would act similarly, but let's not forget that just like you are not an exact replica of your own parents. You are your own person, growing up in a different generation, a different time and you have your own values, ideas, goals and your own life. What you are suggesting by writing off Justin as just like his father is you are just like your mother or father, and you probably hate that comparison yourself, so he deserves some slack here just as much as you do when you try to carve out your identity. Sure, you are influenced by your parents and they shaped you into the person you are, but it's condescending to think someone over 40 hasn't come into his own and become an extension of his parents, not a direct copy. But, if we were to look at historically at how Pierre is looked upon, is being like one of the greatest Prime Ministers Canada such a bad thing?

2) He doesn't have enough experience and is too young

This argument comes out every so often showing people have very short memories. Just looking at modern North American politics, everyone from Stephen Harper, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all have been elected to the highest stage of national politics based on a path carved out by a playbook written by themselves and not by old-school party ideals. Even NDP leader Thomas Mulcair joined the NDP in 2007 after leaving the Liberals. This argument is mostly given by the older generation of people who are not interested in Trudeau in the first place but afraid of the wave of young Canadians who are ready to put their votes where it counts; in supporting someone they relate to and someone who brings fresh ideas and blood into a country that is certainly in desperate need for both. Canada is changing, despite the current government's insistence of setting it back from the years of progress it made under previous ones. It sounds a lot deeper, and is a form of ageism, not respecting Mr. Trudeau for any of his life experience. The window of opportunity for Justin to 'seize the day' is now, the country needs change and the Liberals, who many are finally coming back to, look to run at full-steam under a leader who has no previous attachment to the party of past.

3) He has good hair and is very good-looking

Perhaps the silliest of the reasons not to take Justin seriously, this has nothing to do with anything and is probably the most insulting to not only him but to politicians everywhere. What difference does it make at the end of the day if he's easy on the eyes or looks like a gremlin?

4) He doesn't have any policies

When Justin announced he was running for the Liberal leadership, it was enough to get throngs of supporters to come out and jump for joy. Since then, he has run a campaign on addressing issues as they come up, and despite any apparent missteps, he's only continued to build and grow his supporters without having to hand-over any 'policies'. In a politician's hand-book, this couldn't have gone more ideally, as he has been able to withhold any fuel for the Conservatives and NDP to attack and pounce on. The election is still two and a half years away, and there is no point to start throwing out his ideas on this or his ideas on that if he's already running with so much momentum. It's actually a blessing in disguise that he is able to hold onto these things until later, at which point he will surely come full-on in not only his own platform but in picking apart the policies of the Conservatives and NDP.

Are you honestly going to be surprised if the day after the Liberal vote if Justin or whomever is elected that the Conservatives will launch attack ads? Why write those for them, why not make them scramble in fear with the above attacks being all they can use and save his substance for when it matters most? And Justin will surely be surrounded, if elected leader, with policy makers and those who are far well-versed at specific things than he is and able to help him articulate what he wants to do, then if elected, following through on them.




 

Follow Jeff Paterson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@jeffpaterson

FOLLOW CANADA POLITICS