Trudeau Welcomes Cross-Cultural Party Representation
By Jasminee Sahoye
Federal Liberal party leader, Justin Trudeau says he welcomes “fresh new candidates” to be a voice for change in an effort to increase the party’s representation in the House of Commons and stop the “infighting” within the party.
He was in the riding of Scarborough-Agincourt on Monday to support the party’s candidate, Arnold Chan, who is running in the by-election on June 30, as a replacement for long serving MP, Jim Karygiannis, who resigned to run as a councillor in the upcoming municipal election in October.
He expressed gratitude to Karygiannis, who served as a Liberal MP since 1988 under the leadership of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin.
Karygiannis said his decision to resign was prompted because he wanted to spend more time with his wife, five grown daughters and elderly mother, while continuing to defend the interests of his constituents.
Trudeau, who was fielding questions from members of the community media, said he had seen a constant decline in the number of Liberal seats in the House over the years adding that the party had to change it strategy.
“There are tremendous opportunities to draw in fresh new candidates, like Arnold, who are deeply committed to serving their communities. Perhaps the liberal party had turned too much inwards, with its members more focused on infighting amongst themselves, arguing about who gets to drive the bus rather than where the bus is going. There are a lot of challenges we face but the one thing that has been very clear to me is that rolling up our sleeves and staying positive and outworking everybody else has been very, very successful for us,” he said.
Trudeau is encouraging Canadians of different backgrounds to “step up and get involved” in the party and “put themselves forward as nomination contestants,” adding that “it’s an exercise in democracy.”
The Liberal leader added that he was working towards earning the trust of Canadians and was inspired by the many Canadians who have been lending support to the party.
He also wants to get more young people involved in politics by “giving space for young people to be heard and to participate in the political process, to talk about issues that matter to them”.
Trudeau lashed out at the ruling Conservatives, saying they have been engaged in “buying of services back and forth and I think that actually weakens our democracy.” His comments follow a question posed by a community media owner about advertising and funding for community events and festivals.
“I’m much more interested in talking about how members of different cultural communities can be better Canadians, can engage more with everything that is going on within, across and beyond their communities and that means respecting on a deep level and not just throwing a few advertising dollars here and there but actually engaging and empowering the community leaders to be strong voices.”