Trudeau kicks off campaign in Tory stronghold
Published Wednesday, October 3, 2012 12:00PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 3, 2012 6:38PM MDT
Justin Trudeau dove right into the thick of things with an appearance in Calgary less than 24 hours after announcing his intent to run for Liberal leadership.
Calgary is just the first stop in a cross-Canada leadership tour.
He’s trying to gain a foothold in the area with an appearance at the Dash Mesh Cultural Centre.
Trudeau, 40, told supporters in his Montreal riding on Tuesday night that he wants to breathe new life into the party his father led for 15 years.
He promised that he would reach out to the new generation and help Liberals win back the trust of Quebecers and middle class Canadians across the country.
Trudeau’s connection to his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, presents both a boost and a challenge for the 40-year-old Montreal MP. The senior Trudeau is best known in the West for introducing the long-expired national energy program, which spread the economic benefit of Alberta’s booming oil industry across the country.
When Pierre Trudeau launched the national energy program in 1980, then-premier Peter Lougheed called it a declaration of war and cut oil production. The program was phased out in the following years, but the stigma remained.
According to Edmonton Liberal Laurie Blakeman, Trudeau will need to address his father’s legacy in Alberta, suggesting the national energy program stigma remains regardless of whether it is warranted.
"The NEP has taken on an iconic status that it doesn't deserve," Blakeman told The Canadian Press. "Most people in Alberta today don't even know what it was. They couldn't tell you what the three initials stood for.
"But it is representative of things that they're unhappy with -- other people trying to take what they believe is theirs."
After appearing in Calgary for a meet and greet with residents, Trudeau will continue on to Richmond, B.C.
With files from CTVNews.ca