Justin Trudeau: 5 most Googled questions

CBC News delivers answers to the 5 most Googled questions about Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in the lead up to election day on Oct. 19.

Canadians search the net with questions about the Liberal leader's family, wealth and support for Bill C-51

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has been a public figure since birth, but Canadians have still been turning to Google to ask questions about his background. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

No other contender for the office of the prime minister has been as familiar to the public as Justin Trudeau.

His upbringing at 24 Sussex Dr., the eulogy at his father's funeral in 2000 — watched by millions — and his fraught relationship with his mother have all made national headlines. His life since birth has played out in front of the cameras for all to see. 

But before Canadians even think about handing him the keys to the Prime Minister's Office — an outcome far from certain — many questions linger over his readiness and what exactly he would do as prime minister.

Trudeau has faced months of attacks from both the Conservatives and the NDP that use some variation of the "He's just not ready" tag line, which has struck a chord with some voters. Thus, it is no surprise that one of the most asked questions about him on Google before the current campaign was: "What are Justin Trudeau's accomplishments?"

Google Canada has revealed the five most searched questions about each of the main party leaders, based on search data from the six months leading up to the election call.

Today, CBC News delivers answers to the most searched questions about Trudeau. We started earlier in the campaign with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, and we'll look at Green Party Leader Elizabeth May in the coming days.

Here's what Canadians wanted to know about the Liberal leader, and some answers to their questions.

1. How old is Justin Trudeau?

Pierre Trudeau and his wife, Margaret, leave the city's Notre Dame Basilica on Jan. 16, 1972, after the christening of their 22-day-old son, Justin Pierre James. (Canadian Press)

Trudeau was born in Ottawa on Christmas Day in 1971 — one of the few people in Canadian history born while a parent was serving as prime minister. Trudeau grew up at 24 Sussex Dr., the stately official residence in posh Rockcliffe Park in the capital, with younger brothers Sacha and Michel.

As a child, Trudeau recalls in his memoir, he knew little about what his dad did for a living — simply that he was "the boss of Canada." 

Now, at 43 years old, Trudeau would be the second-youngest person elected to the big job if he achieves his goal. The youngest? Joe Clark, who was just 39 when he toppled Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the 1979 election.

Another leader who was a relative pup when he ascended to the highest office in the land was Brian Mulroney. The p'tit gars from Baie-Comeau was 45. 

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau is saluted by an RCMP officer as he carries Justin into Rideau Hall in 1973 to attend an outdoor reception for visiting heads of the Commonwealth countries in Ottawa. As a child, Justin didn't know exactly what his dad did other than that he was the 'boss of Canada.' (Peter Bregg/Canadian Press)

And while Trudeau might be on the younger end of the spectrum for a leader, he was elected as a member of Parliament in 2008 and has served nearly twice as long as his father did before he became prime minister in 1968.

2. What are Justin Trudeau's accomplishments?

The first Conservative attack ad released after Trudeau became the leader of the Liberal Party took aim at his career to that point.

Snowboarding instructor, a bouncer at a nightclub in Whistler, B.C., and a high school teacher at a private school in Vancouver are just some of the early entries on his resumé. He also went on to chair the youth volunteer program Katimavik, which had its federal funding axed in 2012. 

But the job that put him in the national spotlight was his work with the Canadian Avalanche Association, after his brother Michel died while hiking in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park in 1998. Trudeau channelled the grief of losing a sibling into raising awareness and funds for Canada's avalanche safety organizations. 

Justin Trudeau stands at the base of a mountain after a controlled avalanche at Lake Louise, Alta., in January 2002. Trudeau's lobbying efforts helped secure funding for the Canadian Avalanche Centre, which warns skiers of dangerous conditions. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Another accomplishment Trudeau has routinely touted is his electoral success in the riding of Papineau.

When Trudeau was passed over for another candidate to run in the then safe Liberal seat of Outremont (later captured by Tom Mulcair in a 2007 byelection) he opted to run in one of the country's smallest and poorest ridings in Montreal's north end.

Justin Trudeau campaigns with his mother, Margaret, in September 2008. Trudeau won the riding of Papineau after besting Bloc Québécois incumbent, Vivian Barbot, in a closely fought race. Trudeau says he got his political instincts from his maternal grandfather, James Sinclair. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

He beat out Bloc Québécois incumbent Vivian Barbot in the 2008 federal election on the strength of a solid ground game, a skill set he attributes to his mother's father: the late James Sinclair, an accomplished politician. 

He managed to hold the seat in 2011, even as the Orange Wave crashed over Quebec, washing away many of his Liberal colleagues in la belle province.

Trudeau captured the Liberal leadership in 2013 with 77.8 per cent of the vote, garnering 81,389 of the more than 100,000 votes cast.

And, of course, who could forget his come-from-behind victory over then Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau in the boxing ring — a defining moment in his political career to date.

Brazeau-Trudeau fight weigh-in


9 years ago
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau and Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau weigh in for their March 31 charity boxing match at the Fight for the Cure event. 6:37

3. What is Justin Trudeau's net worth?

While Trudeau has positioned himself as the champion of the country's middle class, he is unquestionably a member of the one per cent, and makes that point himself. Canadians asked Google for the bottom line.

Ten-year-old Justin Trudeau gets a right hook from his brother, eight-year-old Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau, as the two await the arrival of their father at the airport in Ottawa in June 1982. (Peter Bregg/Canadian Press)

When Trudeau was running for the Liberal leadership, his campaign disclosed to the Ottawa Citizen that his personal fortune was valued at $1.2 million.

Justin and Sacha Trudeau inherited their father's home in Montreal after he passed away in 2000. (Ville de Montreal Archives)

Most of that money came in the form of an inheritance from his father, but some also came from paid speaking engagements that he gave before — and after — becoming a member of Parliament. The Trudeau boys also inherited their father's mansion on Pine Avenue in Montreal's Golden Mile. 

The Trudeau family fortune has its origins in the 1920s, however.

Trudeau's grandfather, Charles-Émile Trudeau, owned a chain of gas stations in the Montreal area, which became a cash cow when the automobile became a staple of North American life.

His grandfather also dabbled in professional sports, owning the Montreal Royals, the first professional baseball team to have a black player on its roster — the legendary Jackie Robinson.

4. Who is Justin Trudeau's mother?

Canadians also searched Google to learn more about Trudeau's mother.

Margaret Sinclair, the daughter of Liberal cabinet minister James Sinclair, was born in Vancouver in 1948. She met Pierre — he was 30 years her senior — while vacationing in Tahiti. He was captivated by this "flower child," and after a brief courtship the two married at the Sinclair family home on March 4, 1971. The three children quickly followed.

As Margaret herself recounts in her memoir, she never really fit into life at 24 Sussex. The age difference was hard to overcome.

Margaret Trudeau dances at Studio 54 in New York City in 1979. A few hours before this picture was taken, Pierre had conceded defeat in the Canadian federal election. (Canadian Press Archive)

She left her young family for long periods with the boys in their father's care. Images of her dancing wildly in New York's fashionable Studio 54 surfaced in American tabloids, which became fodder for schoolyard bullies.

Trudeau, for his part, says his relationship with his mother was difficult in those early years, and a source of unhappiness. 

"I remember the bad times as a succession of painful emotional snapshots: Me walking into the library at 24 Sussex, seeing my mother in tears and hearing her talk about leaving while my father stood facing her, stern and ashen," Trudeau writes in Common Ground. His parents separated in 1977. 

Later, Trudeau and his mother mended fences and she went public with her struggles with bipolar disorder.

5. What is Justin Trudeau's stance on Bill C-51?

The Liberal Party was riding high in the polls for most of 2014 and into the first few months of this year until Bill C-51, the government's controversial anti-terror legislation, began to dominate the headlines.

Opinion polls showed the public was solidly on side with government. One poll pegged support for the bill — which gives sweeping new powers to CSIS and increases information sharing between government departments — at 82 per cent in February.

That support eroded, and so too did the Liberal Party's poll numbers, as the NDP reaped the benefits for its steadfast opposition. 

Trudeau gave his political rivals some ammunition when he said he would vote for the bill, in part, because the Conservatives would make "political hay" if he voted against the legislation. 

Ultimately, Trudeau has touted his party's approach as the "middle ground," stating at this week's Munk leaders' debate that only the Liberal Party would strike the right balance between protecting rights and freedoms and keeping Canadians safe.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?