What Justin Trudeau brings to politics is a charismatic, genuine, energetic and trustworthy face. He can work a crowd like no other MP. Since announcing his candidacy, he has had no problems drawing full crowds at appearances ranging from rallies to talks on the role of social media in politics. Don't underestimate these traits. What the Liberal party of Canada needs is a young energetic leader who can reclaim the centre and encourage people who don't usually vote to do so.
There is the possibility that Justin Trudeau will galvanize young voters, but I have my doubts, and it has nothing to do with his political acumen or even his ability to one day to be prime minister. It has to do with the very young people he is aiming to woo. They will destroy Trudeau and there likely isn't a thing he can do about it. Today's youth are not programmed to believe in politicians, much less honour them -- political movements, yes, but not the men and women who sit in government, who travel across the land shaking hands and kissing babies. To say politicians don't resonate with young people is an epic understatement; the practice of being a politician seems completely nuts to them. It makes no sense at all.
We need put aside current quick-fix approaches to youth voter mobilization that have limited effectiveness; be it vote mobs (sorry, Rick Mercer) or reaching out to just students -- and ensure that we're focusing on the more difficult to implement strategies that will actually lead to getting youth to the polls in the long run.
If we don't ask more of our citizens when it comes to knowledge of heritage and government we can't expect them to participate meaningfully in either. And the burden of cultivating a vibrant civic culture and a Canadian identity (that tricky, ever-evasive idea of "Canadianness") falls disproportionately to our newest inductees.