Trudeau scion hopes for Trudeaumania 2.0 in Canada

Tue Oct 2, 2012 9:19pm EDT
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By Rita Devlin Marier

MONTREAL (Reuters) - The charismatic son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau declared his candidacy for the leadership of the Liberal Party on Tuesday, hoping to recreate the sort of buzz that made his father prime minister in 1968.

Justin Trudeau said he was entering the race to lead Canada's oldest political party to serve his country.

"I love this country, I want to spend my life serving it. This is why tonight I am offering myself for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada," Trudeau told a packed hall in Montreal for the well-publicized announcement.

Because of his name and an army of more than 150,000 Twitter followers, Trudeau has become the immediate front-runner in the race to head a party that has become a pale shadow of itself, reduced last year to third place in Parliament for the first time in its 145-year history.

Trudeau, 40, has a youthful magnetism that he hopes to leverage into a reprise of "Trudeaumania," the wave of popularity that engulfed Pierre Trudeau in the go-go years of the 1960s.

In his speech, Trudeau signaled that like his father, he was for a united Canada and a foe of separatist forces that have long dogged politics in his home province of Quebec. The separatist Parti Quebecois was returned to power in a narrow victory in September.

"I also want to build a country ... worthy of my dreams. But for me it goes from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Great Lakes to the great North," he said to the cheering throng.

Trudeau, a former school teacher who is married with two children, is embarking on a cross-Canada tour to drum up support for his leadership bid, beginning in Calgary, Alberta, where the Liberal party has little voter support.   Continued...

Liberal Member of Parliament Justin Trudeau gestures as he announces his run for the leadership of the Liberal party at a rally in Montreal, October 2, 2012. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi