About 40 students listened to Justin Trudeau discuss his political roots and hopes for the upcoming election last week at McGill.
The 36-year-old McGill alumnus is running for MP in the Papineau riding in north-east Montreal against Bloc incumbent Vivian Barbot.
He kicked off the event by explaining his relatively recent decision to enter politics.
“Despite what you might read, [it] was not an automatic decision,” he said.
Trudeau said that he grew up oblivious to politics even though his father was Canada’s 15 Prime Minister.
“I was 13 when my father left Ottawa. Until that point, I was not aware of politics as a job…. My father did not come home and tell me ‘well I’m having a tough time with René Lévesque today,’” the candidate joked.
During a question and answer session, Trudeau dismissed the NDP as a rival when asked about the difference between the candidates.
“The NDP are great at proposing programs but not at thinking about what the cost to the Canadian people will be,” he said. “No matter what Happy Jack says, we’re going to have a Liberal or a Conservative prime minister.”
But Trudeau was critical of the current Conservative government, which he said has neglected crucial regions like Asia and Africa in recent years. He also noted that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has yet to visit China.
“We used to be such a player; we used to be so present, so respected. If we have a role to play on the world stage, it’s because we have stepped up,” he said.
The event, held in the Bronfman Building, was organized by Liberal McGill.