Justin Trudeau wins Liberal leadership

Andrew
Andrew Robinson
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N.L. MPs hope new leader paves way for bright party future

Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire and their children Xavier and Ella-Grace celebrate after he won the Federal Liberal leadership Sunday in Ottawa. — Photo by The Canadian Press

News of Justin Trudeau’s victory in the Liberal leadership race was well received by Liberals who sit in Parliament.

Trudeau, eldest son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, swept 80 per cent of the vote in a final field of six candidates.

Some candidates had dropped out of the race in recent weeks, citing the fact it was a fore-gone conclusion Trudeau would win.

Liberal MPs reached by The Telegram Sunday evening — all Newfoundland Liberal MPs were in Ottawa for the big event — were pleased to have a new leader in place.

Gerry Byrne, the MP for Humber-

St. Barbe-Baie Verte, will be serving under his sixth leader with Trudeau now at the helm. He is the longest-serving MP in the province.

In a statement emailed to The Telegram shortly after Trudeau concluded his speech at the leadership convention, Byrne said Trudeau’s victory shows the Liberals are going places.

“With the decisive victory Justin earned in a leadership race that was marked by having the largest citizenship participation of any national leadership contest in Canadian history, it is clear that the Liberal party is on the move,” he said.

Byrne said Trudeau is young yet seasoned, energetic and patient, and light-hearted but serious. He also appeared to be extremely optimistic when assessing what Trudeau will mean for the party.

“As someone who has been around a while, I can tell where he is going and where he will take our party. This party has just taken the next step to being asked by the people of Canada to form the next government of Canada.”

Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls-Windsor MP Scott Simms has known Trudeau ever since he was elected in the Quebec riding of Papineau in 2008 — he sat directly behind Simms in Parliament during question period.

“I’m extremely proud a very dear friend of mine became the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada,” said Simms, who has invited Trudeau to his home district on a number of occasions.

“To see him up there now as the leader — I don’t know — it seems like it happened quite fast. I reflect on it now, and I go, here is the guy who just showed up in Ottawa, and here he is now, the leader of the Liberal party, and in two and a half years, the next prime minister.”

Scott Andrews, MP for Avalon, said support for Trudeau is very strong in his riding. Amongst districts in Newfoundland and Labrador, Andrews said more voters came from Avalon than any other in the province, with 97 per cent of voters in the riding choosing to support Trudeau.

“It goes down to team work and ground game, and Justin has had that ground game, and we’ve got more to do,” said Andrews. “This is only the beginning.”

Looking towards an election in 2015, Andrews said the party needs to continue to work hard. That work may be especially hard for a party that finds itself in the uncustomary position of being neither the governing party nor the official opposition.

“We’ve got to fix a lot of the broken parts of the Liberal party,” said Andrews. “Over the years they’ve been neglected, and now in provinces like Quebec and Ontario we’ve got some work to do.”

Both Andrews and Simms made reference to the upcoming Labrador byelection as a place where the party can show its strength in the short term. Longtime Labrador MHA Yvonne Jones is representing the Liberals in a race against former Conservative cabinet minister Peter Penashue and NDP candidate Harry Borlase.

Andrews said it was a neat experience to take in the atmosphere Sunday night as Trudeau’s victory was announced.

“Today is one of those days where you say, ‘I was there the day this all sort of started,’” he said. “It’s an end today (to the leadership campaign), but it’s also the beginning of something good.”

That comment seemed to echo what Trudeau said during his victory speech Sunday night.

“This is the last stop of this campaign but it is the very first stop of the next one,” Trudeau told his audience when the results were finally announced.

A total of 30,800 points were up for grabs and Trudeau won on the first ballot with 24,668 points.

Almost 300,000 supporters signed up to participate in the contest. A little more than 40 per cent of them actually registered to vote.

Liberal MPs were gathering for a caucus meeting following Sunday’s leadership event and are set to return to Parliament this week.

 

arobinson@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

— With files from The Canadian Press

 

Organizations: Liberal Party of Canada, NDP, Canadian Press

Geographic location: Ottawa, Avalon, Canada Quebec Newfoundland and Labrador Ontario

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Recent comments

  • James
    April 15, 2013 - 11:20

    My sympathies to Canada. Like the devil, all flare and charisma with not substance and low standards.

  • saelcove
    April 15, 2013 - 10:32

    Thank god he is good looking

  • gerry
    April 15, 2013 - 10:10

    ah, the Dauphin has been crowned; long live the king....he's charismatic like his father, that's a given.... His father 'opted' out of service in world war 2. Pierre Trudeau inherited a strong, growing economy. During his time in office, our miltary was so drastcially decimate, it was arguably next-to-last in the standing order of NATO coutries; with Luxenbourg , last on the list, a country with little over half a million people & the size of PEI...though federal spending tripled... He left in 1984, & 3 consecutive governments tried to clean up the collosal debt....here's hoping if Justin is ever elected PM, he does a hell of a lot better than when his old man was PM....

  • Stephen D Redgrave
    Stephen D Redgrave
    April 15, 2013 - 09:15

    We will see a future where Justin Trudeau takes the lead in history as one of Cabada's most carismatic , forward thinking Prime Minister ever. He is the 'new and improved' Super Trudeau. What the heck is Harper talking about "Trudeau hasn't got experience?" He's got a lifetime with the best political coach in Canadian history, Pierre E Trudeau, Founder of our Constitution. And Harper.....Don't you forget it!!!

  • H JEFFORD
    April 15, 2013 - 07:58

    Justin Trudeau will become one of the best Leaders that Canada ever had, He has the good qualities of both his mother and his Father Pierre Trudeau , That told things as they are and didn't hide away from the truth or mislead the people.