Trudeau pledges loyalty to constituents after Papineau win
'I need to do the right thing,' the former PM's son says, rebuffing any Liberal leadership plans
Justin Trudeau, appearing on CBC Newsworld on Wednesday morning after being elected member of Parliament for the Montreal riding of Papineau, was pressed to answer questions about possibly being a candidate if there is a Liberal leadership convention. In the post-election interview, he hastened to squelch the idea, and make clear his plans for the future.
"I just got hired to do a job," the 36-year-old said.
"I need to do the right thing, and the right thing is to represent the people of Papineau, to listen to them, and to make sure their voices are heard in the House of Commons.
"And that's the focus for my existence in politics."
Trudeau defeated Bloc Québécois incumbent Vivian Barbot in Tuesday's federal vote. He won with 41.5 per cent of the popular vote, while Barbot took 38.63 per cent.
Barbot, a Quebecer of Haitian descent, won the seat in 2006 by 990 votes.
The Liberal party and Bloc Québécois focused much of their campaigning attention on the riding and the Trudeau-Barbot battle.
Trudeau, a bona fide political star and choice recruit for the Grits, despite his inexperience, was asked Wednesday about when a Liberal leadership race might be held, given the Liberals' poor showing behind the minority-elected Conservatives and the questions surrounding Stéphane Dion's leadership.
Trudeau pointed out that he is a first-time MP, a neophyte.
"I've never been in the caucus discussions and backroom dealings that may be in my near and immediate future. I'll figure it out as I go along."
Liberals hoped Trudeau would help in revival in Quebec
Trudeau left a teaching career to run for the Liberals, who had hoped he would help revive their deflated fortunes in Quebec in the wake of the sponsorship scandal.
The Papineau riding was once a Liberal stronghold, where former foreign affairs minister Pierre Pettigrew was elected three times.Leading up to Tuesday's election, Trudeau campaigned in the working-class, ethnically mixed central Montreal riding for more than a year.
His team honed in on the riding's rich array of immigrant minorities, which make up more than a third of the area's population and include substantial communities from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and North Africa.
Trudeau was aided in his canvassing by his mother, Margaret, who recently moved to Montreal from Ottawa.
His father's political legacy is still viewed suspiciously in Quebec, and Trudeau faced virulent attacks from sovereigntist groups that accused him of denying the Québécois nationhood.
Before Tuesday's election, Trudeau said he believes his father would be proud of him.
"I think that he'd be pleased that I did this my way … not anyone else's," he said.
His bilingual campaign video was spoofed by comedy groups on the internet, and a fringe separatist group launched a "No Trudeau in Papineau" campaign.
Barbot, a 67-year-old former teacher and past president of the Quebec Women's Federation, had called Trudeau a formidable opponent, but questioned his commitment to Quebecers and Quebec.