Harper Conservatives should be worried now that Justin Trudeau is leader of the federal Liberal Party, says former local candidate Kimberley Love.
The eldest son of the late former prime minister Pierre Trudeau has the energy and optimism to engage younger and apathetic voters both locally and nationally, she said Monday, and inspire them to vote.
“I believe he’s the one that can make a real difference in our riding,” said Love, who attended the convention in Ottawa where Trudeau was anointed Sunday as Liberal leader after securing more than 80% support during first-ballot voting.
Love served as riding captain in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound for the Trudeau campaign.
Nearly 550 party members from Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound voted by telephone or online for a new leader. About 74% chose Trudeau, while 14% selected Joyce Murray and 9% picked Martha Hall Findlay.
Just over 300 members from Huron-Bruce also voted. Trudeau earned 87% of the vote there, with Murray receiving 7.5% and Hall Findlay garnering 3%.
Trudeau received 81% of the vote in Simcoe-Grey, while Hall Findlay earned 11% and Murray garnered 6%. About 335 party members voted in that riding, which includes the Town of the Blue Mountains.
Voter turnout in all three local ridings was about 88%. The national average was 81%.
In all three ridings, candidates Martin Cauchon, Deborah Coyne and Karen McCrimmon received less than 1% of the vote.
The federal Conservatives issued a statement Sunday to congratulate Trudeau on his selection as Liberal Party leader but it also slammed him for a lack of experience.
“Justin Trudeau may have a famous last name, but in a time of global economic uncertainty, he doesn’t have the judgment or experience to be prime minister,” the statement says.
“Stephen Harper has an Economic Action Plan that has created 900,000 new jobs since the recession, the best job creation record in the G-7. He’s lowered taxes, such as the GST, and increased support for families with measures like the Universal Child Care Benefit.”
The federal Conservative Party has already launched attack ads, which criticize Trudeau as being “way over his head.”
Jake Doherty, president of the Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound federal Liberal riding association, said Trudeau serves as a “great inspiration” to younger Canadians and has what it takes to get more of them to cast a ballot in the next federal election.
“I think they see him as a genuine person,” he said.
Trudeau is articulate, “good on his feet” and “one of his great appeals” is that he is a younger person himself, Doherty said.
“I think Justin Trudeau can bring in new members, he can raise money for the party,” he said.
Love said Trudeau has been named party leader at a critical time, when Canadian politics under Prime Minister Stephen Harper has become “dirty and messy.”
“Justin Trudeau has, for whatever reason, been able to engage young Canadians in a way that you cannot explain,” she said.
The Liberals, under former leader Michael Ignatieff, suffered their worst defeat in history during the 2011 federal election, finishing in third place behind the Harper Conservatives and Jack Layton’s NDP. The Conservatives won 166 seats, while the NDP won 103 seats and the Liberals earned 34. The Bloc Québécois won four seats and the Green Party won one.