06/13/2012 05:15 EDT | Updated 06/13/2012 05:19 EDT

Justin Trudeau Leadership Ambitions: MP Says He Will Think About Running For Liberal Top Job


Justin Trudeau says he will think about running for the permanent leadership of the Liberal Party.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday afternoon, Trudeau praised interim leader Bob Rae for his decision not to run for the permanent job, saying it demonstrated extraordinary wisdom. Trudeau also said the race will be weaker without Rae.

While Trudeau said he has not changed his own mind about not running, but may think things over with his wife.


"I have not changed my decision not to be a candidate, but as you know I am under extreme pressure from Canadians, journalists and Liberals who want me to think about it seriously," he said in French.

"The door that I closed a year ago means I must I reflect and I must have conversations with my family. I consider that serving one's country, that is something that is very important and something I believe in and that's why I am a member of Parliament. But the decision to go back on my decision, that will be a decision that I take in tranquility with my family."

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.

"Pierre Elliott Trudeau: The very words convey so many things to so many people,'' he said.

"Statesman, intellectual, professor, adversary, outdoorsman, lawyer, journalist, author, prime minister. But more than anything, to me, he was Dad.''

Trudeau's finishing flourish left many in tears:

"He left politics in '84. But he came back for Meech. He came back for Charlottetown. He came back to remind us of who we are and we're all capable of.

"But he won't be coming back anymore. It's all up to us, all of us, now. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. He has kept his promises and earned his sleep. I love you, Papa.''

With that single speech, Trudeau went from obscure high school teacher to the potential crown prince of a now-damaged dynasty.

With Rae bowing out of the leadership race, starry-eyed Grits are turning to Trudeau, heir to one of the country's most intriguing politicians.

Trudeau first tickled the public fancy on the day he was born.

It was Christmas Day, 1971, when then-prime minister Trudeau showed up at Ottawa's Civic hospital to announce the arrival of his first-born. The symbolism became the subject of many a wisecrack and was only magnified when Alexandre (Sacha), Trudeau's second son, was born on the same day.

The elder Trudeau did his best to keep his sons out of the limelight, especially after his messy split with wife Margaret in 1977.

The younger Trudeau was little known until his eulogy, although he was a low-key advocate for a number of causes, including avalanche safety. The latter came after his youngest brother, Michel, was swept to his death in a British Columbia snow slide in 1998.

But the lure of politics and the lustre of his name and heritage couldn't be ignored.

He made his political bones in 2008, when he won a seat in the House of Commons for the Montreal riding of Papineau. He ignored suggestions that he find a safer seat and instead campaigned in a gritty, low-income, constituency that had been held by the Bloc Quebecois.

The rich man's son and the inner-city voters made an unlikely alliance, but he proved it by being re-elected.

While some labelled him a lightweight in Parliament, he generally kept a low profile, although he was known to occasionally speak without thinking.

On one occasion he blurted out a curse in the Commons and apologized profusely.

Earlier this year, however, he agreed to a charity boxing match with Tory Senator Patrick Brazeau, a stocky former soldier and a karate black belt.

Brazeau was heavily favoured against the lanky Trudeau, but the Liberal deftly tagged his opponent over and over until the referee stopped the fight in the third round.

Suddenly, people saw echoes of Pierre Trudeau's gritty doggedness and the glow was back on the heir.

With files from The Canadian Press.


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