Liberal MP Justin Trudeau looked very much like a man intent on seeking the leadership of the federal Liberal Party as he donned a cowboy hat, boots and jeans and pressed the flesh at a Calgary Stampede pancake breakfast Saturday.
Trudeau worked his way down the long line of pancake enthusiasts at a Liberal breakfast, speaking to each person and posing for photos.
But he told reporters it shouldn't be seen as campaigning and was something he does at all public events.
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"If you guys had been to see me at any other Stampede breakfasts over the years, I do the exact same thing, because for me someone who chooses to be a Liberal in Calgary isn't doing it because it makes them popular," he said with a chuckle.
"They do it because they believe in it. And for me recognizing that and congratulating people for that is important to me."
That being said, the Montreal MP and eldest son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau acknowledged that running for the leadership is very much on his mind.
"I have to make sure I have the substance I bring forward, and you guys will find out at the end of the summer, beginning of fall, if I've decided and not before," Trudeau said.
Would raise Liberal vote, poll suggests
A poll by The Canadian Press and Harris-Decima released last month suggests 33 per cent of Canadians would be likely or certain to vote Liberal with Trudeau at the helm. That would be a major step up from the dismal 19 per cent the party scored in last year's federal election, an all-time low.
"I'm aware that there's a certain popularity factor out there, but that's not the centre of any decision I have to make," he said.
"The centre I have to make is a very personal one: Can I manage to be a good father while being a good leader and eventually a good prime minister first and foremost, and also am I the right person for the job? Do I have the capacity to lead in the way that people seem to think I do?"
Trudeau said a renewal of the party will centre on reminding Canadians that the Liberals have the ability to take the middle ground and speak on behalf of everyone. He called NDP Leader Tom Mulcair the "flipside" of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He said both leaders have polarized the country and are pitting region against region.
Interim party leader Bob Rae has already announced he won’t run.