Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau sat down for a wide-ranging interview with CBC News chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge, the second of four interviews with the leaders of the major political parties airing this week on The National.
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Read more about the interviews here. Here is the full transcript:
PETER MANSBRIDGE (PM): WELL A LOT OF CANADIANS, THE SURVEYS SAY SEVENTY PER CENT, SUGGEST THEY WANT CHANGE. SO, IF YOU'RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE PRIME MINISTER AFTER OCTOBER NINETEENTH, WHAT IMMEDIATE CHANGE WILL THEY SEE FROM YOU?
Justin Trudeau (JT): From...from the very beginning I've talked about how we're going to strengthen the middle class in this country. We need to grow the economy in a way that works for most Canadians, and for ten years, Mr. Harper has neglected that. He's continued to fund tax breaks, and benefits going to the wealthiest Canadians, and we're not getting the growth that we need, and our economic plan is about turning that around and actually talking about the things that matter to Canadians.
PM: WELL, THAT'S YOUR MESSAGE, BUT THOSE KIND OF THINGS TAKE TIME. THOSE DON'T HAPPEN RIGHT AWAY. WHAT'S THE IMMEDIATE CHANGE THEY WOULD SEE?
JT: A government that's focused on Canadians, a government that's answering questions, a government that's talking about things that matter to Canadians, and actually acting on them. Government that's open to discussion and debate, and a government that is focused on the long term and not the electoral interests of the immediate.
PM: WHEN CANADIANS SAY THEY WANT CHANGE, WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT MEANS? WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY MEAN BY CHANGE?
JT: If it's not what I think they mean, it's what I've heard from Canadians right across the country, the conversations I've had about the fact that people are stuck making choices between paying for their own retirement, or paying for the kids' education. People feel that this idea of Canada that has every generation do better than the generation before no longer holds, and there's a worry and an anxiety there that they want to see turned around. For ten years, Stephen Harper hasn't been able to do that, he hasn't created the growth that we need.
PM: WELL, IF THERE'S GOING TO BE CHANGE, THE TWO MAJOR PLAYERS VYING FOR AGENT OF CHANGE ARE YOU AND TOM MULCAIR. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
JT: Oh, it couldn't be clearer right now.
PM: WELL MAKE IT CLEAR.
PM: A LOT OF CANADIANS ARE NOT MAKING A DISTINCTION. THEY WANT TO TRY AND UNDERSTAND WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
JT: Well, the difference is, Mr. Mulcair wants to continue with Mr. Harper budget plan. Mr. Mulcair is committing to balancing the budget no matter what next year, which means he's going to have to cut, which means he's going to have to back off on some of the promises he's been making, if he's going to achieve that. We are committed to investing in Canadians, we are committed to investing in infrastructure, we're committed to actually growing the economy, and getting to balance in twenty nineteen. There's a huge difference between them, who are proposing cuts and even austerity, and the Liberal Party, which is proposing that what we all know which is that confident countries invest in their own future, and that's what we're going to do.
PM: YOU KNOW SOMEONE SUGGESTED, I HEARD SOMEBODY USE THE TERM THE OTHER DAY THAT YOU'RE TRYING TO OUT-SOCIALIZE THE SOCIALISTS, THAT YOU'RE OUTFLANKING, OR TRYING TO OUTFLANK THE NDP ON THE LEFT BY PROMISING A DEFICIT OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS.
JT: Actually what we're promising, what we're building a plan around, is the need for growth in this country, and it's economic growth that we need. Economic growth that works to give everyone a real chance to succeed, and that's the focus. I'm not worried too much about left, right spectrum, I'm worried about what's actually going to work to help Canadians who are worried about their own jobs, about their kids' jobs.
PM: BUT TRADITIONALLY, I MEAN THIS IS A POLITICAL GAME TOO, TRADITIONALLY THE NDP HAVE OCCUPIED THAT GROUND, AND HAVE NOT BEEN AS CONCERNED ABOUT DEFICITS AS OTHER PARTIES. HERE, THE ROLE, THERE'S BEEN A ROLE REVERSAL, OR THERE APPEARS TO BE ONE.
JT: You know what, I'm focused on what actually matters. I'm focused on what I've heard from Canadians, and the plan that we're putting forward is about what this country needs, which is to have a government that actually invests in our future, in infrastructure, in housing, in green solutions, in the kinds of things that are going to give Canadians a real change to succeed. I'll let folks like you try to place us on a political spectrum. I'm focused on telling Canadians that we have a real plan and we have a really extraordinary team to deliver that plan.
PM: WELL THERE IS ONE OTHER THING ABOUT DEFICITS I CAN REMEMBER AS A FORMER FINANCE MINISTER, I THINK, WHO SAID TO ME ABOUT DEFICITS, THAT IT'S HARD TO PROMISE TO ELIMINATE A DEFICIT, EASY TO PROMISE TO CREATE ONE. THE PROBLEM IS, ENSURING IT DOESN'T BALLOON. NOW HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO THAT? YOU'RE USING THE TEN BILLION DOLLAR A YEAR FIGURE, FOR THREE YEARS.
PM: HOW ARE YOU GOING TO KEEP IT AT THAT WHEN THERE ARE ALL OTHER KINDS OF THINGS AT PLAY?
JT: Well first of all, let's look at this current string of deficits that we're in because of Mr. Harper. Now Mr. Harper has tried to cut in a whole bunch of different ways, he's underspent a billion dollars from Aboriginal affairs, underspent a billion dollars on veterans, he continues to try and cut our way out of deficit, and that doesn't work, because he's been unable to create growth. He has the worst record on growth of any Prime Minister in eighty years. You have to go back to the Great Depression to find one.
PM: BUT HE WENT THROUGH A DEFICIT INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM OF, JT: Mm hmm. PM:...TENS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS.
JT: Mm hmm. And –
PM: THAT CREATED NO GROWTH?
JT: Well, it didn't,
PM: WHY WOULD YOURS CREATE GROWTH IF HIS COULDN'T?
JT: Because we're focused on the things that actually are going to matter to Canadians. We're not focused on helping ridings that we need help in; we're focused on responding to the concerns of municipalities and provinces. The federal government shouldn't be drawing lines on a map in terms of what transit infrastructure are needed, we should be there to be a partner with the cities, with the provinces, that need that. We should be there to invest in the affordable housing that Canadians need, we should be there to help mitigate against floods. We need to make sure that our infrastructure and our capacity to respond to the challenges of the future is at its highest level if it's going to grow. Mr. Harper continues to think that giving budget cuts and tax breaks to the wealthiest Canadians will somehow trickle down into growth and jobs for the rest of Canadians. Well that hasn't worked for ten years. We're going to turn around, we're going to give a tax break to the middle class by asking our wealthiest one percent to pay a little more taxes. We're going to give more generous child benefits to the families who need it by actually not sending it, sending government cheques to millionaire families.
PM: YOU CONSTANTLY USE THE TERM MIDDLE CLASS.
JT: Mm hmm.
PM: AND YOU HAVE FOR SOME TIME, LONG BEFORE THE CAMPAIGN. WHAT'S THE MIDDLE CLASS? HOW DO YOU DEFINE IT, BECAUSE PEOPLE USE THIS TERM, THEY ALL BANDY IT AROUND, ALL THE LEADERS DO.
JT: Mm hmm.
PM: BUT WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?
JT: Well, PM: CAN YOU PUT AN INCOME BRACKET ON THE MIDDLE CLASS THAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT?
JT: It actually varies right across the country. You know what's middle class in downtown Toronto would be very different from what's middle class in Miramichi, for example. So, the way we've looked at it, we've said, the one percent of wealthiest Canadians who make over two hundred thousand dollars in income, we're going to give, we're going to take a little more from them in taxes, we're going to drop the middle class tax bracket of you know, forty¬four to eighty¬nine thousand dollars in income, will drop down by a point and a half. That will affect a lot of people. The more generous child benefit cheques will go to families making a hundred and fifty thousand dollars or less, they'll be bigger cheques, tax free, typical family of four making ninety thousand dollars in this family, in this country, which is the typical family of four, will actually get twenty¬five hundred dollars more every year under our plan. We're doing more for the people who need it, less for the people who don't. But it's not just the middle class, it's those working hard to join it as well because our more generous Canada Child Benefit will actually lift three hundred fifteen thousand kids out of poverty, according to the Library of Parliament.
PM: IF YOU BECOME PRIME MINISTER AFTER OCTOBER 19TH, YOU ARRIVE AT A TIME WHERE THE DOLLAR IS IN THE MID-SEVENTIES, IN RELATION TO U.S. DOLLAR. OIL'S SOMEWHERE IN THE MID-FORTIES. WE ARE OFFICIALLY IN A RECESSION. WHAT'S THE FIRST THING YOU DO ON THE ECONOMY?
JT: One of the first things we do, that I've committed to –
PM: NO, THE FIRST THING.
JT: Call together the premiers, talk about climate change, get to, get to Paris at the end of November with a plan towards reducing our emissions in responsible ways, at the same time as we talk with the Premiers about intra¬provincial trade barriers, about the infrastructure projects they need. We're going to roll out about five billion dollars more in infrastructure in that first budget that we're going to be announcing. We have to work with the provinces and the municipalities to figure out where that money can be spent.
PM: SO YOU NEED ALL THESE OTHER MEN AND WOMEN AT THE TABLE TO MAKE THOSE FIRST DECISIONS ON THE ECONOMY THAT YOU AND YOUR GOVERNMENT WOULD MAKE?
PM: YOU NEED ALL THE FIRST MINISTERS?
JT: No, our decisions are already made about lowering taxes, about sending more child benefits, about immediately stepping on veterans' benefits. We've got a platform that we're going to get into place right now. But in order to build the kind of prosperous future that this country needs, we need to move away from the kind of solo leadership that Mr. Harper has specialized in, where he won't talk to the provinces, where he will not engage in partnerships with municipalities, and realize that it's about time Canada started pulling together to address the very real challenges we're facing.
PM: ALRIGHT, LET ME...LET ME ASK YOU SPECIFICALLY ON A NUMBER OF PROGRAMS THAT THE HARPER GOVERNMENT HAS PUT IN, ABOUT WHAT YOU WOULD DO WITH THEM. BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, YOU TALK ABOUT GROWTH, AND TRYING TO ENCOURAGE GROWTH IN THE CANADIAN ECONOMY, BUT YOU'RE PROBABLY ALSO GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE SOME DECISIONS ON EXPENDITURES IN SOME CASES, AND YOU'VE HINTED AT A COUPLE HERE ALREADY. BUT LET'S DO A YES OR NO ON A COUPLE OF THEM. JT: Mm hmm. PM: FOUR OR FIVE OF THE KIND OF KEY PLANKS OF THEIR ECONOMIC PICTURE OF THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, AND WHETHER OR NOT YOU WOULD KEEP THESE PROGRAMS, OR GET RID OF THEM, OR ALTER THEM. SO FIRST UP, WELL YOU MENTIONED THE CHILD CARE BENEFIT.
JT: Mm hmm.
PM: YOU'D ALTER, YOU'D KEEP THE PROGRAM, BUT ALTER IT.
JT: We'd make it so that the child benefit cheques are bigger, but tax free, for everyone earning less than a hundred and fifty thousand dollars in family income. People earning more than two hundred thousand dollars a year wouldn't get any child benefit cheques – that's a way of helping the families who need it. And like I said, three hundred fifteen thousand kids out of poverty.
PM: AND I ASSUME THIS WOULD BE SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE UPFRONT, FIRST BUDGET.
JT: First budget.
PM: IF NOT SOONER.
JT: Already kick in. Yeah.
PM: ALRIGHT. THE TFSA'S, THE TAX FREE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS.
JT: Uh, we think that at the level of about $5,000 a year is responsible.
PM: SO CUT THOSE IN HALF.
JT: The doubling, the doubling of it is irresponsible. It's only the wealthiest Canadians who have ten thousand dollars laying around at the end of the year that they can put into that.
PM: ALRIGHT, SO THOSE WOULD GO DOWN TO FIVE [THOUSAND].
JT: Back, back to where they are at five.
PM: THE CORPORATE TAX RATE.
JT: Corporate taxes are fine. We're competitive, we need to remain competitive, we're not going to be raising them the way the NDP will. We need growth, we need investment, we need to draw in foreign capital, and we need to draw in headquarters from around the world to be in Canada. I think we have to stay competitive, and that's why we're going to leave corporate taxes where they are.
PM: SMALL BUSINESS TAX RATES?
JT: I think small businesses should be paying less taxes, we just have to make sure that it's done the right way. Um...
PM: SO THERE COULD BE A CUT FOR SMALL BUSINESS?
JT: We have, we'll probably have things to say about it, but we have to know that a large percentage of small businesses are actually just ways for wealthier Canadians to save on their taxes, and we want to reward the people who are actually creating jobs, and contributing in concrete ways. So there's a little tweaking to do around that.
PM: GST. WOULD YOU TOUCH THE GST?
JT: Nah, Canadians pay enough taxes right now, we're not going to raise it at all.
PM: WELL, THERE ARE OTHER THINGS YOU COULD DO WITH IT. YOU COULD LOWER IT.
JT: I think we're okay where we are right now.
PM: OKAY, THE FINAL BIG ONE, THEIR PROMISES, INCOME SPLITTING.
JT: Yeah, we're committed to repealing it, and that actually is folding into our Canada Child Benefit. Income splitting benefits only fifteen per cent, mostly the wealthiest Canadians, but it's paid for by everyone. And again, it's the wrong kind of approach. It shouldn't matter what type of family you have, whether it's, you know a single mom or dad, or a divorced couple, or two people working, or neither working, people should get the benefits for their children that they deserve, and that's why we've enhanced our Canada Child Benefit to make sure that the people who need it actually get it.
PM: DO YOU THINK THERE'S, THE MONEY EXISTS FOR YOU TO DO ALL THE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO, INCLUDING THE CHANGES YOU WANT TO MAKE?
JT: Yes, our platform is absolutely fully costed. Now is the time to actually invest in our country, and invest in our future, and that's where we differentiate ourselves from obviously Stephen Harper, but also Thomas Mulcair, who doesn't think that we need to invest in Canada right now, and who's focused on actually cutting so he can continue with Stephen Harper's budgetary approach.
PM: OPENNESS AND TRANSPARENCY, YOU HAVE RAISED THE ISSUE, AS HAS MR. MULCAIR, ABOUT MR. HARPER'S GOVERNMENT, ABOUT HOW OPEN THEY ARE, OR NOT OPEN, AND HOW TRANSPARENT, OR NOT TRANSPARENT THEY'VE BEEN, AND QUESTIONING THEIR BASIC MANAGEMENT NOT ONLY OF THE ECONOMY, BUT OF GOVERNMENT. THE REASON I FIND THAT SOMEWHAT IRONIC IS THAT'S EXACTLY HOW HE GOT TO POWER.
PM: BY QUESTIONING THOSE SAME AREAS ON YOUR PARTY. SO WHAT ARE CANADIANS TO THINK OF THE LIBERAL PARTY NOW MAKING THOSE SAME JUDGMENTS ABOUT THE CONSERVATIVES?
JT: Well, one of the things that we've seen throughout the past decades in government is the trend towards more control from the Prime Minister's Office, actually it can be traced as far back as my father, who kicked it off in the first place. Uh, and I think we've reached the endpoint on that...
PM: ARE YOU SUGGESTING THAT IT WAS YOUR FATHER WHO STARTED SORT OF TIGHTER CONTROL OVER THE PMO?
JT: I think that's generally, generally understood that he started it.
PM: YEAH, NO IT IS...
JT: Which is why...
PM: ...GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD, BUT IT'S NOT GENERALLY ASSUMED THAT YOU WOULD SAY THAT AS WELL.
JT: Oh yeah, no no, I recognize that, and I think I actually quite like the symmetry of me being the one who'd end that. My father had a particular way of doing things; I have a different way, and his was suited to his time and mine is suited to my time. I believe that we need to trust Canadians. I believe that it's not just about restoring Canadians' trust in government by demonstrating trust towards them, I think we get better public policy when we're done, when it's done openly and transparently. I think part of the problem, what we're seeing in the kind of government and plan that Mr. Harper has put forward, is he's disconnected from the reality that people are facing every day, and from the scrutiny that actually would lead to a better level of decision making.
PM: HOW WOULD YOU STAY CONNECTED TO THE REALITY THE PEOPLE ARE FACING EVERYDAY?
JT: Well first of all, empower my MP's to actually be voices for their communities in Ottawa, and not just my voice in the community.
PM: BUT EVERYBODY SAYS THAT.
JT: Well you know what, no, not everybody says that because Mr. Harper has demonstrated a level of discipline and message control that means that ninety¬five per cent...
PM: NO BUT I MEAN WHEN THEY'RE COMING IN.
JT:...of his candidates won't debate...
PM: WHEN THEY'RE, WHEN THEY'RE CAMPAIGNING FOR OFFICE–
JT: Mm hmm.
PM: THAT'S WHAT THEY SAY, JUST WHAT YOU'RE SAYING, BUT HOW DO YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN IF YOU WIN?
JT: Well I'm actually of a different generation, and I've demonstrated concretely. For example, months after I became leader, I started proactive disclosure, so every MP within my party, and the Senators at the time as well, because they were still under my control, started posting their expenses online, and other parties followed suit, and now the parliament of Canada actually posts all of its expenses online in a way that wouldn't have happened if we hadn't taken concrete action on this. I have actually demonstrated an openness and transparency in my approach that isn't just a promise, but actually has action to back it up. Because, fundamentally, if I'm doing this job, or seeking to do this job, it's because I believe that we can make a real difference, that government matters. Good government can actually make a positive difference in people's lives.
PM: HAS YOUR PARTY CHANGED?
JT: But the only way to do that... the Party had to change.
PM: NO I MEAN, OBVIOUSLY YOU'RE A DIFFERENT KIND OF LEADER THAN THE LAST ONE, OR THE LAST TWO, PERHAPS THE LAST THREE, BUT HAS THE PARTY CHANGED? IT WAS THAT PARTY, IT WASN'T ONE PERSON THAT CANADIANS THREW OUT, IT WAS THE LIBERAL PARTY.
JT: Oh and it happened over...
PM: SO, HOW DO YOU CONVINCE CANADIANS THAT THE LIBERAL PARTY HAS CHANGED?
JT: Well I mean, and that happened over a series of elections where we just kept dropping, and dropping, and dropping in the polls because the Liberal Party had turned away from Canadians. It turned inwards, it was jockeying for who gets to be leader, and infighting, and factionalism, whereas it wasn't focused on actually serving Canadians anymore. And what we've changed over the past three years is a party that re¬engages. We have more members in the Party, we're up over three hundred thousand members of the Party, we're reaching out across the country to bring in great candidates. I mean that's the one thing about bringing in great candidates, it's not, part of it is about showing the Liberal Party is, in fact, ready to form an extraordinarily efficient and capable government right away on October twentieth, but it's also about reminding Canadians that we're supposed to be drawing good people into politics. And quite frankly, bringing in the best and the brightest is something that hasn't happened in a long while in politics.
JT: Mm hmm.
PM: WHERE IS IT ON YOUR PRIORITY LIST? YOU SUPPORTED IT, BUT WITH THE CONDITION THAT YOU WERE GOING TO CHANGE IT IF YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO. SO, HOW FAR UP THAT FIRST DAYS' PRIORITY LIST IS CHANGING C-51?
JT: Oh it's–
PM: AND WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?
JT: It's right up there. Canadians expect their government to do two things at the same time – protect our security, and defend our rights and freedoms. And look, Mr. Harper doesn't think we need to do anything more on secure...on rights and freedoms; Mr. Mulcair doesn't think we need to do anything more on security. The Liberal Party has always understood to get them both. So what we'd actually change is we'd bring in proper oversight by parliamentarians so that we have a parliamentary committee tasked with overseeing all of our national security agencies, which not only makes sure that there aren't excesses that aren't justifiable, but also makes sure that our agencies are doing everything they need to keep Canadians safe. We'd also bring in review clauses, and sunset clauses that make sure that if provisions aren't necessary, or go too far, they will die a good death and have to be replaced by something else.
PM: HOW SOON IN A NEW GOVERNMENT...
JT: Right away.
PM:...WOULD THAT HAPPEN?
JT: In the first months. It's, Canadians need to feel safe, but we need to defend our rights and freedoms, and we'll do them both, as we always have.
PM: YOU'VE TAKEN A LOT OF HEAT ON C-51, AND YOU KNOW MOST PEOPLE FEEL THAT IT COST YOUR PARTY OVER THE LAST YEAR, ITS POSITION IN THE EARLY, EARLY POLLS. DO YOU REGRET ANY PART OF THAT DECISION?
JT: No I don't, I don't, and I'll tell you why. From the very beginning of my leadership, I've talked about the fact that Canadians need a positive vision. We all decry Mr. Harper's politics of division, and attack, and fear, left, right, and centre. I've said from the very beginning, attack ads, nastiest, divisiveness, I'm not going there. Now, Mr. Harper wants us to be fearful that there might be a terrorist hiding behind any given tree. Mr. Mulcair wants us to be fearful for our security, for our rights and freedoms. I've said no, we're going to do those both together, and we're going to do it in a responsible way. We are in a very polarized, and polarizing, political context right now, but that shouldn't prevent us from having responsible measured positions, and that's exactly what it is, that the Liberal Party will protect freedoms, and protect our security at the same time, as we did in the years following 9/11, as we've always been able to do.
PM: ISIS. DO YOU CARRY ON THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST ISIS WITH ANY CHANGES? THERE HAVE BEEN SUGGESTIONS FROM YOU IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS THAT THERE ARE THINGS THAT YOU WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY – CALL THE PLANES BACK. WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
JT: It is extremely important that Canada continues to be part of the fight against ISIS. We need to make sure that we are part of the international efforts to degrade and stop these horrible terrorists. The best way to do that however, is something which I've fundamentally disagreed with Mr. Harper. I don't think that the planes are the right mission for Canada. I believe that, first of all as we're seeing in Europe right now, the massive refugee and humanitarian crisis that's going on, Canada needs to step up much more in terms of refugees, accepting more into Canada, we've talked about 25,000.
PM: AND HOW DOES THAT DEGRADE ISIS?
JT: Well that actually–
PM: I APPRECIATE THE REFUGEE PROBLEM...
JT: That, but that looks...
PM:....BUT IN DEGRADING, WHICH YOU SAY YOU WANT TO KEEP DOING–
JT: Mm hmm, mm hmm.
PM: HOW DO YOU DEGRADE ISIS–
JT: Well that's the...
JT: Third part of our thinking.
JT: First the refugees because you recognize...
JT:...if we're going to have any long¬term stability in that region, we need to help people with camps, we need to be supporting them there. We need humanitarian efforts that is going to continue to allow people to get through some of the very difficult times they're in right now. And we have to part of training the local troops on the ground in order to carry the fight effectively against ISIS.
PM: THAT HASN'T WORKED FOR TEN YEARS.
JT; Well you know what else hasn't worked, is sending Western troops into actually doing the fighting for them. That's why we got into this mess in George W. Bush's first one.
PM: SO YOU DON'T HAVE AN ANSWER ON THE DEGRADING.
JT: Well, absolutely. You make sure that the Kurds, for example, are able to fight, to take back their territories. You work with them in a much greater way than we're doing right now. I mean Canada, anytime Canada is going to get involved in an international effort of the importance of degrading ISIS, we have to make sure we're doing it with a clear plan, with a possibility of success, however we define that success to be, and an expectation that we're going to give our equipment, the equipment and the tools to our troops to be able to succeed in that. And not make things worse. Quite frankly, that's exactly where this government has failed.
PM: WHEN ONE LOOKS AT EVERY SURVEY THAT'S DONE RIGHT NOW, WE'VE STILL GOT A WAYS TO GO, BUT EVERY SURVEY WOULD SUGGEST THAT IT'S A RACE BETWEEN THREE PARTIES FOR THE TOP POSITION, THAT ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN, AND THAT ANYBODY COULD WIN, BUT THAT IT'S ALMOST CERTAINLY A MINORITY GOVERNMENT, LOOKING AT THESE NUMBERS. ALMOST CERTAINLY. SO LET'S HAVE THE MINORITY GOVERNMENT DISCUSSION, AND I KNOW YOU DON'T LIKE TO GO THERE, BUT LET ME TRY IT FROM A DIFFERENT WAY. WHAT IS YOUR BELIEF AFTER THE VOTES ARE ALL COUNTED? IS YOUR BELIEF THAT WHATEVER PARTY HAS THE MOST NUMBER OF SEATS HAS THE RIGHT TO TRY TO GOVERN AT THAT POINT.
JT: Yes, that's the way it's always been, whoever commands the most seats gets the first shot at governing.
PM: WELL IT'S NOT ALWAYS THE WAY IT'S BEEN. I MEAN THERE–
JT: That's pretty much always–
JT: Whoever gets the most seats gets the first shot at trying to command the confidence of the House.
PM: WELL ACTUALLY THE FIRST SHOT GOES TO THE OUTGOING PARTY.
JT: To the outgoing Prime Minister, absolutely.
PM: IN FACT IT WAS YOUR FATHER WHO YOU DISAGREE WITH ON SOME THINGS–
JT: In 72, yes.
PM:...AND IN 79, WHO SUGGESTED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CAMPAIGN THAT HE FELT THAT IT'S NOT AUTOMATIC, THAT THE GOVERNING PARTY HAS A RIGHT TO SEE WHAT ITS OPTIONS ARE.
JT: I think the reality is, there is such a clear desire for change amongst Canadians right now, that Mr. Harper will have a very difficult time commanding the confidence of the House after this election, after these ten years of failings that he's had.
PM: SO WHICHEVER PARTY THAT IS, COULD BE YOU, COULD BE ONE OF THE OTHERS, WOULD BE LOOKING FOR THE SUPPORT OF PARLIAMENT TO TRY AND GOVERN. SO WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE OTHER TWO PARTIES, IS THERE, DOES IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE TO YOU WHICH OF THOSE TWO PARTIES...IF YOU DON'T WIN, DOES IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE TO YOU WHICH OF THOSE TWO ENDS UP WITH THE MOST SEATS?
JT: Oh I think it makes a tremendous difference what those parties are. I mean, Mr. Harper and his Conservative Party have put forward an agenda that has hurt Canadians for ten years, has not invested in the kind of growth we need. And on the other hand, Mr. Mulcair, as people are beginning to discover, is promising cuts, and is not going to create the kind of growth that we need.
PM: BUT ARE YOU SAYING YOU COULDN'T CHOOSE BETWEEN THOSE TWO IF YOU HAD, EITHER TO SUPPORT THEM OR TO ASK FOR THEIR SUPPORT?
JT: Ah...no. The nice thing about elections is that it's Canadians who get to choose who they send to Ottawa, and people in Ottawa have to figure out how to provide the best possible government to Canadians, and that's what I'm focused on. And I'm going to let pundits sort of calculate what the different odds of this are. I'm looking forward to forming a strong government for Canadians, and I will take the support of whoever supports our plan to invest in the future of Canada.
PM: BUT OF THOSE TWO PARTIES, IS THERE A LESSER OF TWO EVILS, BECAUSE YOU MADE IT SOUND LIKE THEY'RE EQUAL IN TERMS OF YOUR DISLIKE OF THEIR POSITIONS?
JT: Well I think both of their positions are wrong. Both of them want to continue a failed approach on austerity and cuts that Canada doesn't need, and that's why I'm confident that Canadians are going to pick the idea that we invest in our own future, and that we create growth once again.
PM: THE LAST QUESTION I HAVE FOR YOU IS ONE THAT I'LL PUT TO EACH OF THE OTHER LEADERS, AND IT'S MORE OF A PERSONAL QUESTION. IT'S NOT ABOUT YOUR PARTY, IT'S NOT ABOUT YOUR POLICIES, BUT IT'S ABOUT YOU. AND THE QUESTION IS, WHAT IS IT ABOUT YOU THAT YOU FEEL SHOULD MAKE YOU A PRIME MINISTER?
JT: This country is one of the most incredible countries in the world, if not the most. I mean I know I'm horribly biased, but I have had the opportunity to meet with Canadians, to get to know them, to live in all different parts of this country, and I've seen for ten years, we have become less than what we could have. I mean if I have one viewpoint of distinction between me and Mr. Harper, it's in his lack of ambition for this country. I think Canada needs to step up again, I think we can once again. I think we can be an extraordinary country that the world looks to for solutions instead of complains about our dragging our heels on climate change. I was raised at a time where the Canadian flag, the Canadian passport engendered such a sense of respect around the world, where people would look to this country for solutions, not just economic solutions, although of course they did, not just solutions on how to live in balance on the land, but also how to build an extraordinary inclusive society when differences are a source of strength, not a source of weakness. Now, my opponents in this election are always ready to highlight weaknesses or fault lines, or differences between English Canada and French, between East and West. I believe in pulling this country together, I believe in collaboration, cooperation. I believe in the kind of leadership that brings forward extraordinary people to serve their country, to serve in government. This is my belief in what makes Canada great, what made Canada great, and what will continue to make it great. I have a tremendous sense of optimism for this country. I just feel that we're not living up to that right now, and it's time for a fresh approach – new leadership to do it.
PM: BUT WHY, WHY DO YOU THINK YOU'RE THAT FRESH APPROACH? NOT ON YOUR BELIEFS ON POLICY, BUT ON YOU, PERSONALLY? WHAT IS IT ABOUT JUSTIN TRUDEAU, THAT MAKES YOU THE PERSON THAT SHOULD LEAD CANADA?
JT: If you want to find out if someone's ready for this job, ask them what they want to do with this job. My focus is on growing this country again, the right way. Making us united, keeping us safe, giving everyone a real and fair chance to succeed. And my work throughout my life with Canadians has prepared me to be able to offer that to people.
PM: MR. TRUDEAU, THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.
JT: My pleasure.