So you think you know Justin Trudeau? We bet not as well as you think you do. The controversial Liberal minister followed his famous father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau into politics after a career as a teacher, but states that politics don’t define him. “ This is what I’m doing right now’ says the outspoken Trudeau. ‘At the core of everything I do is the sense that I was incredibly lucky as a kid to have the opportunities and the parents that I had’.
With two young children and wife Sophie Gregoire at home in Montreal, Justin Trudeau endures a grueling schedule of work and travel to serve in politics. This has been a tough place for Trudeau who is often the lightening rod of criticism. Which brings us to the famous boxing match. With his PC opponent favoured to win 3 to 1, Trudeau was the man having the last laugh by easily winning the match. This just might end up being the case in Parliament. We recently spoke to Trudeau to learn more about the man most Canadians know of, but know little about.
Real Style Network: Do you see politics as your career path?
Justin Trudeau: No I see this as something that I am doing right now. A politician isn’t what I am. It’s what I happen to be doing right now. If I had to define myself by one particular career it would be a teacher. Everything that I do is interacting with the world as a teacher. I don’t doubt that I will return to a classroom one day. There are an awful lot of lawyers and business people and professionals in politics. I think we need a few more teachers.
Real Style Network: How much of your personal time does the political work take on a weekly basis?
Justin Trudeau: I tend to leave for Ottawa on Monday morning. Spend Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night in Ottawa. I come back usually on Thursday afternoon in time for dinner on Thursday. Often I have events in the riding on Thursday evening. Thursday and Friday I am in the riding office with meetings and dealing with issues on the local level. On the weekend it’s a balance of events within the community and family time. It’s nonstop.
Real Style Network: Is politics what you expected it to be?
Justin Trudeau: It’s a lot of work.. But I do feel there is a role that I have in making the world a better place for them ( his kids). That’s how I justified it. I say ‘ok I am in Ottawa away from them. But I am contributing to build a better planet for them.’ If I was just wrapped up in scoring points with the opponents’ benches or playing the games of politics without being focused on the service, then it wouldn’t justify the time I spend away from them.
Real Style Network: Some people say that the sons of very famous or larger than life personalities have a difficult time carving their own way. What do you have to say to that?
Justin Trudeau: I understand that contrast. Especially for someone like me where I am in a similar line of work as my father was, so the comparisons are very much there. But I am also someone who doesn’t go out of my way to reject everything that my father stood for. I am very proud of my father. I am very much trying to assume the last name, but at the same time give the first name its own strength. That would be a much tougher balancing act if it wasn’t something that both of my parents prepared me for all my life. Often children of very successful individuals suffer because their parents are so busy being successful that they are not necessarily as attentive and engaged as parents, which would be necessary to balance the extra challenges that the given young person is going to face. My parents spent so much time on being good parents, that our father encouraged us to be our own self, but not have to reject everything that he stood for . I think that it balanced reasonably well .
There is one exception however. I have made a conscious decision not to wear a rose. Regularly I will show up at an event somewhere and someone will say oh to honour your father we want you to wear this rose. I will say ‘thank you very much but that was my father’s thing, not my thing.’
Real Style Network: Let’s talk about the fight! It must have felt good to win when your opponent was favoured 3 to 1?
Justin Trudeau: Yeah, just a little bit. [laughs] It was a charity event first and foremost and that gave the permission to participate in it. I have been training as a boxer, but never with real fighting, for years. To be able to actually put myself to the test was a real joy.
Real Style Network: You mentioned earlier that you are trying to make the world a better place for your kids. How do you feel you are contributing to this goal?
Justin Trudeau: I think an involved, engaged citizenry is the one thing that we need to allow us to address the big issues. I spend more time doing that than any other politician actually going and talking to and engaging young people. I am regularly active on Twitter, I have well over 100,000 Twitter followers, which puts me second only to the prime minister in my use of Twitter. I am very active on Facebook. Mostly it is engaging one on one. It’s going out to high schools, universities, and youth groups across the country to engage with them to talk to them about the kind of challenges we are facing and how important it is that they get involved.
Real Style Network: How long to do you see yourself staying in politics?
Justin Trudeau: I don’t know as long as I am useful and not a day longer.
There you have it. Be it in politics or as a teacher, Justin Trudeau will leave his mark…just don’t ask him to wear the rose.
Photo Courtesy of: Justin Trudeau
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