April 28, 2007

Justin Trudeau Addresses Papineau Issues

In what may be the most shocking twist yet, Justin Trudeau has earned my respect and I wish him well in tomorrow’s meeting.

I wish him well tomorrow, although smart money shows this race will likely be decided on a second ballot, and by fewer than 100 votes. I endorse nobody, as this is not my riding, and shouldn’t matter what I say…

I gave all 3 candidates an opportunity to respond to 5 questions, three specifically addressing pivotal issues in the riding of Papineau, the riding where I grew up. The campaign has been focused on its multi-ethnic nature when half the riding is in fact, French Canadian.

Deros still has the edge in terms of winning the riding, that cannot be disputed. However, I do believe Justin has the capacity to work hard and catch up, something I would have never said a few short weeks ago.

For a guy perceived as an airhead (by me) who lived off his father’s name and had no original ideas, Justin has come a long way. He knows the riding. My friends in the riding (working for the other camps) tell me he wants this so badly. We may still disagree on certain issues, but I would be proud to have him serving as a Liberal MP.

I promised him no editorializing his answers so here is the interview unedited (questions are italicized)

Bravo Justin

Why did you choose Papineau and not the others in Montreal that were open?

Residents of this urban, multicultural, and economically disadvantaged riding are faced in their day-to-day lives with issues and opportunities that are central to the future of this country and even this world. To know them, understand their challengesand aspirations and provide them with an effective voice in Ottawa, will be to serve not just them, but the real interests of the country as a whole. As an added bonus, if I can earn the trust and faith of the Liberals of this riding through a tough nomination process, and then take back the riding from a strong Bloc MP in the next election, we will havestrengthened both our Party and the federalist cause in Quebec.

There has been lots of focus on members voting along ethnic lines. The children of immigrants are voting Liberal less and less. Is there a way you plan to reach out to this base of voters to keep them in the Liberal camp?

Young people as a whole tend to be disillusioned by the current state of politics. However, though my years as an educator and an activist, I've seen that their apathy and cynicism stem not from the fact that they don't care about the world, but from the factthat they in reality care deeply about it, and are frustrated by their lack of input and relevance. I've dedicated much of the past ten years of my life to listening to and empowering young people by offering them ways to become engaged and connected to their communities, and will bring that passion with me to Ottawa. Children of immigrants also commonly feel that the Liberal Party takes their communities for granted, and reaching out to them will require a serious rethinking of the relationship we as a Party have with our grassroots. As politicians, we need to make Liberals understand that we need and value their input and support, and not just at election time.

Many youth and immigrants enter the workforce working at minimum wage. Have you ever worked for minimum wage? If yes, describe the experience and what it may have taught you regarding the lives many residents of Papineau face.

When I was studying at McGill, I worked as a waiter and bartender at The Tramway, a restaurant on St-Catherine's that is now a Second Cup. The biggest lesson I learnt from my time there was just how badly some people tend to treat the people who serve them. And it wasn't the outright aggressive ones who were the worst, it was more the dismissiveindifference of someone who feels so superior to you that you barely exist for them. Now I know full well that I'm a child of privilege, but for me that comes with a responsibility towards those who weren't so randomly lucky at birth. My goal is to use the voice, education, experiences and resources I have to help build bridges between Canadians of different backgrounds and to ensure that the residents of Papineau have the chance to contribute and fulfill their potential.

Much of the focus in this race has been given to the Park Extension section of the riding. Are there any issues specific to the St Michel and Villeray areas you would like to see addressed?

Villeray is the heart of the francophone community in the riding, and with so much emphasis put by the media and politicians on the multi-ethnic nature of Papineau, many residents of Villeray feel ignored. Worse, they often blame the newer arrivals for it. Iwish to reach out to this community and engage them in taking a more active role in helping build strength through differences, for it is through a dynamic and united community that the basic desires we all share, for good jobs, healthy families and safe neighbourhoods can be met.The issue of security is one that touches everyone in Papineau, but it is in St-Michel that it is a most pressing concern. There is a vicious cycle of isolation and fear that has people putting literal and metaphorical bars and walls between them. What is so needed is ways to address not symptoms but root causes, such as poverty, disempowerment andmarginalization, and a general lack of hope, particularly in the Haitian community. Again, building a stronger sense of empowerment within a united, engaged community can go a long way towards creating a true sense of security.

Describe one encounter that you have had on the campaign trail with a Papineau resident that has touched you personally. Explain why it has affected you.

I have, over the past three months, met a huge number of wonderful older residents who've offered me deeply moving stories about how my father and his legacies have touched their lives, and many, many younger people who've shared with me their frustrations and concerns with the present, as well as their hopes and dreams for the future. But I've also met with a good many community leaders from a sampling of the over seventy different cultural communities in the riding of Papineau, and it's one of those encounters that I'd like to share here. One afternoon I went to sit with the imam and other elders of one of the largest mosques in the country, and for about an hour we had a wide open discussion on a great range of topics. It wasn't just about Muslim issues, although of course they came up, it was on everything. We discussed the environment (green is the colour of Allah, after all), poverty, openness and intolerance, and the strength of community. We challenged each other on Canada's role in the world, and our relative successes and failures. It was a deeply satisfying beginning to a conversation that I hope to continue in the days and years to come. I walked out there with a renewed faith in the perspectives and wisdom available to those who are merely open and willing to listen to others, as well as a sense of the immense possibility offered by the pluralistic nature of this riding I so deeply want to represent and serve.

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11 Commentaires:

Blogger Fady a dit...

I'm glad you gave him the chance to express himself on the riding. Hopefully, after all this is over...people here will finally start cutting this guy some slack!

4/28/2007 1:28 PM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

i may be an asshole but I am always fair

4/28/2007 1:44 PM  
Blogger knb a dit...

Antonio, good for you. I almost fell of my chair reading the first paragraph of your post.

Well done.

4/28/2007 1:52 PM  
Blogger Scott Tribe a dit...

I was going to do a photoshop edit showing Trudeau and Antonio embracing (a la his Dion photo) but I figured I didn't want to overdo things :)

4/28/2007 2:43 PM  
Blogger canuckistanian a dit...

good interview. i don't know about kennedy, but there may be hope for 'you' after all ;-)

4/28/2007 3:47 PM  
Blogger James Curran a dit...

Whoa!

Good post Brother.

4/28/2007 4:02 PM  
Blogger Marc Gendron a dit...

Nice one.

4/28/2007 4:52 PM  
Blogger Glen a dit...

Shocking and surprising - it'll definitely be one to watch!

4/28/2007 8:46 PM  
Blogger Phil a dit...

You said the most shocking twist yet that you are positive towards him. That's a very egotistical statement. I'm not sure fuddle-duddle holds much weight in real journalism to be honest.

4/29/2007 5:12 AM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

phil, it is called sarcasm...

4/29/2007 9:27 AM  
Blogger James Bowie a dit...

Trudeau makes a good point. Young people are not apathetic.

4/29/2007 1:34 PM  

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