OTTAWA (Reuters) - The son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Justin Trudeau, will seek the leadership of the once-mighty but now-floundering Liberal Party, according to media reports on Wednesday.
Justin Trudeau will make his announcement next Tuesday after months of deliberating on whether he wanted to sacrifice time with his young family, television and newspaper reports said.
A former school teacher, Trudeau, 40, has been a member of Parliament from Quebec since 2008 and has a far higher profile than any of the other candidates, thanks largely to his father’s name.
The Liberal Party has ruled Canada for a majority of its existence as a country but was reduced to third-party status in the 2011 general election, in which it recorded its worst-ever showing.
Most politicians and pundits think the position is basically his for the asking, such is his charisma and following, but opinion is divided as to whether he will be able to restore Liberal fortunes.
“In every newsroom across Canada, someone is saying ‘Hey, has anyone done a piece yet on whether Justin has what it takes?’” Toronto Star reporter Susan Delacourt quipped in a message on Twitter.
Among his biggest assets - at least for the leadership race - is his list of 149,000 followers on Twitter. By comparison, former astronaut and current legislator Marc Garneau, who also has been mulling a run for the leadership, has fewer than 7,000 followers.
Trudeau made a splash in March when he won a technical knockout in a boxing match against a Conservative senator and earlier drew criticism when he speculated about supporting Quebec separatism if Canada became too conservative.
The inevitable comparison are being made to his father, who inspired what became known as Trudeau-mania in the flower-power days of the 1960s. He was prime minister from 1968-79 and 1980-84, a man who staunchly opposed Quebec separatism.
The Liberal Party has been squeezed from the left by the New Democratic Party, which replaced it as the official opposition in the House of Commons, and from the governing Conservatives on the right.
Another name that repeatedly comes up as a possible Liberal candidate is Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, but his office points to remarks he made in April saying that he was not contemplating a run and that he had closed off the option of entering politics.
Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Doina Chiacu