Trudeau not expecting coronation
Published Saturday, November 17, 2012 3:38PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, November 17, 2012 6:22PM EST
SOREL - Justin Trudeau’s campaign to follow in his father's footsteps as Canadian Liberal leader took him to Sorel-Tracy Saturday, where he stressed that he's not expecting a coronation in April.
"People are not just going to vote for flash, they are going to vote for substance," Trudeau told reporters at a Liberal meeting in Sorel, Que., the first since the race officially began on Wednesday.
"Over the coming months, there are going to be a lot of people challenging each other, challenging each of us as candidates to demonstrate that we have the strength and the conviction to be able to earn the trust of Canadians."
While the contest has only just started, Trudeau has a distinct advantage, having announced his candidacy to much fanfare at the beginning of October. Opinion polls suggest his leadership would give the Liberals a considerable boost.
Trudeau was one of four Liberal leadership candidates to show up for the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada council meeting overseen by Quebec Lieutenant Denis Coderre.
The other three were unofficial candidates, Rene Roy, a farmer from the Beauce region of Quebec, Toronto lawyer George Takach and retired military officer Karen McCrimmon.
McCrimmon, who ran unsuccessfully for the Liberals in Ontario in the last federal election, said she had already raised enough for the first payment, and planned to travel the country to generate more interest.
On Saturday she was collecting some of the final signatures to officially submit her candidacy.
"I'm doing this because I hope it will be better for all Canadians to be able to see all the different facets of the Liberal party," she said in an interview.
"If all of us are up there on that stage saying 'look at the talent you have to choose from'... we will gain back the confidence of Canadians."
Trudeau, seen as the front-runner, stressed to the 200-or-so in attendance that Canadians are hoping for substance, something he wants to display in his cross-Canada tour which culminates in the vote on April 14 in Ottawa.
Marc Garneau, expected to join the race shortly, did not attend the meeting.
Other likely candidates are Ottawa lawyer David Bertschi, Vancouver Crown Prosecutor Alex Burton, Toronto lawyer Deborah Coyne, former Willowdale MP Martha Hall Findlay, B.C. Liberal David Mener and economist Jonathan Mousley.
Candidates must make three payments of $25,000 to be part of the race. Spending is capped at $950,000 per candidate.
Under the new rules, people will be permitted to vote for Liberal leader without joining the party, as long as they are not members of another political party.
This could give an advantage of those with more social media support, for example Justin Trudeau has 167,000 Twitter followers, and the others have a far lower social media profile.
In his speech to party members, Trudeau said Liberals have a lot of work to do to regain the trust of Quebecers -- and all Canadians.
Trudeau said he wants to offer a vision for Quebec that's distinct from that of the NDP, which nearly swept the province in the past election.
"Quebecers approach me, and as they approach me, they're not talking about flags or labels or Constitution," he said.
"They're talking about wanting politics that goes beyond the petty rivalries that have taken up so much of our time in the past. They want people to be beyond that and that's very much what I'm excited about delivering."
-With a file from The Canadian Press