If you’ve been all wrapped up in the spectacular USC election action lately, you may have missed out on the bout of Trudeaumania that hit the Spoke this past Wednesday. Justin Trudeau, one of nine various candidates running for leadership of the Liberal Party, spoke to students and members of the London community about re-connection, bouncing back from cynicism, and re-engaging themselves in the politics of the true north strong and free.
After a warm welcome from a standing-room-only crowd, Trudeau’s down-to-earth persona captivated the Spoke while his half hour long speech had each audience member eager to paint their ballot a brilliant red.
With an aptitude for the art of rhetoric and connecting with youth – whether through addressing real concerns about the reality of a poli-sci career, or joking about students being ‘SOL’ about the legalization of cocaine – Justin definitely shone in certain moments, while other moments left me skeptical.
Beginning with the long-standing issue of the public’s disengagement with politics and cynicism about voting, Trudeau reinforced his motive in sweeping the nation: to reconnect with Canadians on a ground level and spark interest and involvement. This idea serves as the root of Trudeau’s platform – or lack thereof. While others in the running for Liberal leadership are pushing their prospective methods of face-lifting Canada’s socioeconomic landscape, Justin’s utopian approach involves a step-by-step assemblage of real citizen needs, which he says will result in a “bold and detailed” platform by 2015.
Justin ran with the motif of altruism, consistently returning to a romantic view of Canada’s history of shifting power to an engaged and informed citizenry: “We’ve always done that. We’re strong because of our differences. We work hard, and our ability to lean on each other has built this country.” His ‘All for One, One for All’ attitude persisted as the importance of working together to dissolve wedge issues within the polarized spectrum of politics was emphasized. In Justin’s words, “That’s not us… It’s about demanding and expecting more from leaders and representatives, neighbours, communities, and ourselves. Ourselves, and our voice in shaping our future.” Standing emphatically on the edge of the stage, Justin raised no fists, but instead kept his levelheaded Levi’s cool.
Justin’s eloquent-yet-familiar rhetoric made it easy to get behind much of what he presented, but after a while aroused some skepticism. The liberal candidate claims his primary goal is to uncover Canadian needs, all of which will be addressed and accounted for in his 2015 platform. One might say there is a gaping dichotomy between theory and practice here, as the national promotion of this ‘uncovering’ has been the only step towards the uncovering itself. In other words, it’s a pretty vase with nothing inside — a spectacular cop-out. It’s still early in the race towards Liberal Leadership, though, so maybe we should cut Justin a break.
Despite his pseudo-platform, Justin earned UWO brownie points (pun intended), for his support of cannabis legalization and his passionate charisma regarding youth leadership – not to mention his great hair.
So is #LDN really #4Trudeau? He certainly embodies all that classic liberalism entails and values investment into our future generation. Hopefully he can fill the gap between ‘talk’ and ‘walk’ and produce more voting context aside from his great hair (really, it’s great!).
Ainsleigh Burelle is an OPENWIDE Staff Writer whose blood type is good music and anything avocado with a healthy dose of pop cultural analysis.