Justin takes it easy
Trudeau’s eldest son gets intimate at the Owl
by Kent E. Peterson, Business Manager
As part of a cross-country tour, Justin Trudeau, the Liberal Member of Parliament for the riding of Papineau, Que., was in Saskatchewan Tuesday, Sept. 28, and visited both of the province’s universities.
“One of the things we’ve been tasked to do by our leader, Michael Ignatieff, is to get out of the Ottawa bubble and to start connecting with people across the country as much as possible,” Trudeau explained.
Flanked by Wascana Member of Parliament Ralph Goodale, Trudeau shared a drink with students at the University of Regina in the Owl, and talked about the Liberal Party’s commitment to young people. “My responsibilities are critic for youth, immigration and citizenship. Youth is one of the things I spend all of my time with.”
The opportunity to go to a college or university was singled out as a priority by Trudeau. “There are huge barriers to students completing post-secondary education. A lot of young people are not finding summer jobs that would allow them to offset the costs of their tuition; a lot of young people aren’t finding the part-time work necessary,” said Trudeau.
He then added that the Harper government has made life harder for students by terminating Millennium Scholarships, an initiative introduced in 1998 by Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.
Trudeau thought previous Liberal governments did a good job helping students, but admitted there is always room for improvement. If his party was elected in the next federal election, Trudeau said he would be a strong voice for students and young people, and their policies would mean more people could go to school. “The Liberal Party has committed to the principle of if you get the grades, you get to go. We know there needs to be a comprehensive overhaul of how we fund post-secondary education to make it accessible to as many Canadians as possible.”
Wascana MP Ralph Goodale added his own thoughts on making post-secondary education more accessible, suggesting that the government should offer “[m]ore grants than loans.”
Student and youth issues weren’t the only topics being discussed by Trudeau on his Saskatchewan tour. “The Liberal Party spent all summer talking about rural issues, which meant help for farmers … bringing doctors into our rural areas by giving support for them, helping our … volunteer and part-time firefighters, and making sure we have broadband internet access everywhere,” said Trudeau, “so the Liberal Party reached out with positive proposals,” he added. Trudeau then chided Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party for encouraging in polarization and participating in what he called the “politics of negativity.”
“The Conservatives talked about rural issues too, but they only talked about one – the gun registry. They made it as divisive and as polarizing as they possibly could.”
Ema Gardner, an economics student at the University of Regina and president of the Economics Students’ Society, came to see Trudeau. “My boyfriend is a big Liberal supporter, he’s a card-carrying Liberal, so I thought it’d be nice to get drunk and speak with a future potential leader of Canada,” she said.
When asked what Trudeau’s most appealing aspects were, Gardner observed that he “has that Trudeau charm – I like his scarves … I like his flowing locks, they’re pretty great too.”
Other students in the Owl, like Engineering student Matthew Hood, were less entranced by Trudeau’s presence. “I actually just came here to play pool.”