Give me time, Trudeau says

Teresa Wright
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Trudeau opens up about his frustrations over being pushed for his party's platform following caucus retreat in P.E.I.

Good things will come to those who wait.

That's the promise Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is making as he leads national Liberal caucus meetings in Prince Edward Island this week while staying mum on his party's policy platform.

But his decision to delay making firm policy commitments until 2015 is not a popular one - notably this week among the Parliamentary reporters who followed the high-profile leader to tiny P.E.I. in the hopes of getting good material for national newspapers and broadcasts.

Facing a wall of cameras and reporters on the Rodd Brudenell golf course Wednesday, Trudeau was repeatedly asked - where is his platform?

"How can you get Canadians on side with no specifics except that you care about them?" one reporter asked.

In the media room afterward, journalists shook their heads and openly expressed criticism over his response that he would not be rushed into releasing a platform "just because people want to know right now and they're impatient to know."

In a sit-down interview with The Guardian later, Trudeau said these criticisms have been constant throughout his leadership.

"As much as I talked about principles and values, people kept demanding me for a platform and policy planks," he said.

He maintains he has been taking positions on numerous issues as they arise and gets frustrated with the notion he is not putting out substantive solutions to the concerns facing Canadians.

"I've been Liberal leader for about four or five months now, and the idea that I would have the magic solutions or the perfect solutions to put forward to solve a significant problem that is plaguing not just Canada but all western economies these days, is overly simplistic which is why I got a little bit... exasperated with the media asking that question."

Trudeau says he wants to consult with Canadians and experts before developing firm party planks that Canadians will vote on.

But that does not mean he won't be criticizing the Harper government's policies.

In P.E.I., changes made this year to employment insurance have been a major issue of concern, as this province consistently has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

Trudeau says, if he were to become prime minister, he would reverse the changes and work to revamp the EI system to better meet the needs of all Canadians, including those in seasonal economies like P.E.I.

"What I hear is the need move out of the cycle of dependency on EI and being stuck with seasonal work, but you don't get that unless you get help that will allow you to get training, that will allow you to find a new job, that will allow you to develop the skills that will create new opportunities for yourself," Trudeau said.

Trudeau says he has a strong connection to Atlantic Canada and that he "understands deeply" the needs of Islanders and residents of the other maritime provinces.

But as he walked the streets of Charlottetown on Tuesday, the most common comments he received from locals and tourists he met were about his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

One woman told him his father had kissed her hand once, and that his is what had made her a Liberal.

Trudeau admitted many people of "a certain generation" seem still to have more of a connection with his father than with him.

It's something he says is shifting in his own riding - something he remains confident he can achieve in the regions that do not seem him as often as his own constituents.

"That's certainly the challenge that I have across the country. But it's an exciting challenge to have because it's an opportunity to introduce myself with my values that are drawn from, yes the extraordinary parents that I had, but very much anchored in the challenges that we're facing today as a generation that is looking at a globalized or digital world that has very different challenges from what we were facing a generation ago."

As for the Liberal party's platform, roundtables and stakeholder meetings will start Sept. 16 - the date parliamentarians would have returned to work before Harper decided to prorogue until mid-October.

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Atlantic Canada, Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Sarah
    August 29, 2013 - 21:38

    Isn't it funny that society falls apart when Christ is taken out of the picture. We need good old fashioned values and hard work.

  • counterpointers
    August 29, 2013 - 19:03

    It's unlikely that there's anything anyone can do to keep alcohol or narcotics completely away from teens (or anyone else) if they want it badly enough. The rub is in getting them to use proper judgement when two sides are shouting at them.

  • tobias
    August 29, 2013 - 14:04

    next question, - it is fashionable in middle to upper class circles to sniff cocaine, - has the honest liberal leader ever been asked that?? If not maybe it is time to do so, -

    • David Stewart
      August 29, 2013 - 17:54

      I don't care if Justine takes MDMA politics should be a positive force in our lives ... free from the kind of CPC cynicism Justin in 2015

  • Margaret Johnston
    August 29, 2013 - 12:09

    conservatives ran 3 elections without a platform and now the press demands to see Trudeau's platform during a summer break.......enough of the media's double standards

  • brighterfuture
    August 29, 2013 - 11:14

    those of us in the seasonal industry will learn that this year that the changes made to the EI act were intended to be more fair, that was what was said in Ottawa back in the spring, but its less than fair those changes were increasing the devisor from 14 -16 and still the same unemployment rate as last year. with so many getting just enough hours to qualify and looking for more hours it can be difficult with so many looking for work. I guess its true from what I heard the great abundance of wealth in Alberta is the place where we should be and that is something right there, how is Justin going to make it fairer between the political interests of the West and the East something his dad faced in his time many years ago. untill the next Federal election, its going to be the old money talks policy of the current Federal goverment that is want a better quality of life then come out west, and if everyone could do just that i say why not there are a lot of good paying jobs out there. in closing last night the premier expressed concern over the current EI system as well, my advice to the Premier is try to give the hours people require for EI in the seasonal duration, because if it is only going to be that less than the " best of " than PM Harpers vision of our seasonal industry is a sure winner for him.

  • Randy Winnipeg
    August 29, 2013 - 10:16

    Hmm, seems to me if I recall correctly their was a certain PM who wouldn't give out his platform either until a few weeks before the 2006 election. Trudeau is just following Harpers strategy. I think he is smart to do so as well.

  • Nowonder
    August 29, 2013 - 09:59

    He's mum because he has nothing to talk about. Maybe he smokes pot a little too much. It tends to put the brain in neutral.

    • Maria
      August 29, 2013 - 13:07

      NO WONDER It takes a pot smoker to talk like this. JT came clean on smoking pot but POT calling KETTLE black appears to be your motto. Seems like your brain is on 24/7 neutral.JT never said he was smoking pot now but simply that he did once. What about you? Can you prove that Justin is smoking pot now or that you are not? I will bet NOT!!!1

  • michael
    August 29, 2013 - 09:57

    In our parliamentary system, the government proposes, the opposition opposes. If we have come to the point where the supporters of Mr. Harper's government demand that Mr. Trudeau do Mr. Harper's job, then Mr. Harper should call an election or simply step aside.

    • Joe from Canoe Cove
      August 29, 2013 - 12:40

      Let's look at some political FACTS..... Justin Trudeau, MP is leader of a political party with very few sitting members outside PEI and Cape Breton....he is not the leader of the Official Opposition in Parliament today. The NDP under Mr Thomas Mulcair, MP is the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. The Liberal Party of Canada did not get enough members elected to Parliament to have official status.... I realize that Islanders and Cape Bretoners are very, very important people who loyally vote Liberal....something to do with their ancestors and sense of identity but the rest of the country lives in the present while planning and working to make a future not relive the past. Before you start believing your own PR statements, get a grip on reality....Wayne Easter MP, Lawrence MacAuley MP and Sean Casey MP will not be part of any Liberal government in Ottawa for the foreseeable future....hate to break it to you down home folks but other parts of Canada don't see the world like Islanders and Cape Bretoners who vote Liberal.....

  • Anne Peterson
    August 29, 2013 - 09:47

    He promises to consult and consultation takes time. I know the media wants instant answers, but only dictators can give instant answers.

  • dougdela
    August 29, 2013 - 09:46

    Interesting how everyone wants a "Father Figure" with quick answers to all our problems. Trudeau is correct to delay. I want to know his reactions to specific situations to understand his principles, but I also want a leader who will say "I don't know the answer to that yet. I have a team of people working on it." No person can be an expert on everything and it is high time we grew up as citizens to recognize that. I want to choose between platforms worked out over years by teams of careful thinkers, but adjusted to reality as it exists at the time of the next election.

  • Angus
    August 29, 2013 - 09:28

    Two new studies just out, one from the university of Montreal about pot smoking's effects amongst teenagers and young adults. Liberal Proponents might want to do a little reading before they go all in on Trudeau Toking. As for policies, easy to criticize government's - some are always unpopular. It's a sign of leadership to do what you think is right, despite this - it's called moral fiber. To criticize and have no options is a sign of political gamesmanship, not substance. It's being willing to say anything that you think will get you elected - thus the Liberals appeal to the sheep amongs us, waiting to be fleeced by them again..

  • Maybe
    August 29, 2013 - 09:16

    Perfect example of this guy's lack of experience & knowledge . He should already know that we don't want retraining , we only want our required stamps & EI for the rest of the year . That's the life we want . Give us that and we'll vote you in .

  • Where am I wrong?
    August 29, 2013 - 08:42

    Being a life time Liberal I hate to say it, but another indicator of Trudeau's wisdom may be the distance he puts between himself and Mr. Ghiz. From where I sit, the real problem with Mr. Ghiz is not that he is unpopular; popularity is rarely the measure of right or wrong . Rather, it's that Mr. Ghiz has very effectively dismantled many of the very principles that constitute a Liberal Party. What we have here, especially as demonstrated by THE PROCESS Mr. Ghiz used to bring us Plan B, PNP, HST, and a plethora of patronage appointments, is a corporate driven conservative agenda. All evidence suggests that Mr. Ghiz would be a much better fit inside the Federal Conservative Party. Truly, I wish somebody could tell me how I'm wrong.

  • Been Around Dizzy Block a Few Times
    August 29, 2013 - 08:41

    At this time, policies would only be fodder for Harper's attack ads. The Cons are great at using lapdog journalists to skew truth. No one knows what is going to need to be done after the current government is banished. Harper is not yet done making our country unrecognizable, so how can anyone know?

  • Fed up
    August 29, 2013 - 08:22

    Now we have heard everything. A Trudeau saying he will bring Good pot smoking? He isn't very well educated when he yaps on about how harmless it is. Marijuana is called the "doorway" drug. Smoke that until its not strong are totally addicted...oh yes...runout for stronger and stronger...heroin?? Trudeau's people...and anyone even considering voting for him...check out the FACTS....not what he is saying. Keep in mind his Daddy's promises and how he ruined everything....what is good for the country?? And Ghiz? Doctor for every Islander. No HST....mmmmm

    • Fed up with ignorance
      August 29, 2013 - 09:19

      Wrong, wrong and wrong again. 1. Trudeau has never proclaimed that marijuana is harmless. 2. Marijuana as a "gateway drug" (gateway is the term you were looking for, by the way) is borne out of an erroneous stigmatization of the substance. It is no more "gateway" than alcohol is. 3. Marijuana has been proven to NOT be addictive. Habit forming and addiction are two entirely different notions. 4. It's absolutely ignorant to make the assertion that one goes from Marijuana to Heroin.

    • Promoting Harm Reduction is Not Promoting Pot
      August 29, 2013 - 13:28

      Articulateness aside, what may differentiate those of us who support Trudeau's position on pot between those that don't support him may have little to do with pot itself. It may have more to with the cognitive capacity to actually comprehend a harm reduction strategy. If anybody has heard or read or has any proof or evidence that even once Trudeau has promoted pot, then they are right, I am wrong. The fact is, he is not saying pot should be legalized because it is good. Rather, he's saying that to keep it illegal keeps profits in the hands of organized crime (as much as $7.5 billion annually). Also, keeping it illegal turns otherwise good people into criminals. Legalizing pot is a harm reduction strategy, nothing more, nothing less. Those who spin Trudeau's position otherwise simply cannot defeat the position he has actually taken.

  • Quiet Observer
    August 29, 2013 - 08:10

    As we have learned on PEI, sometimes the apple does fall far from the tree.

    • don morris
      August 29, 2013 - 10:37

      "One woman told him his father had kissed her hand once, and that his is what had made her a Liberal." And on that basis this woman decided he would make the best PM?! I suppose there are women today who will vote for the Son because he's handsome and has nice hair and teeth. The only emotion possible after reading that statement is DESPAIR, for the Country. Why don't we just open up the vote to anyone of any age,there don't seem to be many adults interested anyway.

  • Karen
    August 29, 2013 - 08:06

    Good things will come to those who wait. What good things should we be waiting for? You don't wait for things to happen, you make then happen!

  • NDP voter
    August 29, 2013 - 08:03

    Other than celebrity b.s. Trudeau has nothing to offer the great majority of Canadians. I will vote NDP on the issues. Now if only the idiotic Tories would stop taking the bait on marijuana and everything else the Liberals throw at them through the twittering Justin. What a bunch of dummies. The biggest promoter of Justin Trudeau is Stephen Harper. Somebody is conning somebody somewhere.

  • Bob in Ottawa
    August 29, 2013 - 07:05

    History has shown that parties in power will steal sound policies released too soon by opposition parties. Jean Chretien comes to mind as the master at this and Stephen Harper sought Chretien's advice when Paul Martin was PM. I can understand why the press wants policies and planks to write about, given the history of Stephen Harper announcing his major policies while attending meetings out of the country, but I am with Trudeau on this: they must wait until 2015.

  • It's a Mad World . . .
    August 29, 2013 - 06:27

    Isn't is strange? Even though the single most powerful indicator of maturity is the postponement of gratification, the media (and other political pressures) want the instant gratification of pre-mature policy positions? Sort of hard to wrap one's head around, eh?

  • don
    August 29, 2013 - 06:04

    Good things will come to those who wait. That's the promise Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is making. a promise from a leader we heard that how many times over the past 125 years and we have heard that from ghiz as he "promised a doctor for every islander and that was bull so you can take it from there.

  • Robby McRobb
    August 29, 2013 - 04:30

    For a leader of a third place party to condone pot smoking. He and his advisors should check out the medical facts, and the law which states it is still illegal. Leaders should check the facts before opening mouth. Marijuana more risky for teens than previously thought Adolescents face increased addiction. mental health risks, study suggests

    • Wrong on both counts
      August 29, 2013 - 09:24

      1. You should check out the medical facts, because clearly you're grossly misinformed. 2. You should also, while you're at it, check out the laws of our country, because again, you're grossly misinformed on them too. It is not illegal to smoke pot. Posession, production and trafficking are the laws, not smoking. 3. The legalization and regulation of marijuana will make it more difficult for youth to acquire the substance. Today, Marijuana is the most accessibly intoxicant for youth. Government monitoring and point-of-sale regulation, like with alcohol and tobacco, actually makes it more difficult for youth to acquire. It also reduces the black market value of producing and traficking drugs, thereby reducing the level of gang activity associated with its distribution. You, my friend, ought to learn the facts before you open your mouth.

    • Just saying
      August 29, 2013 - 09:30

      No one is saying teens should be able to smoke. Any drug, sugar caffeine alcohol tobacco and pot, is going tô be bad for a developing brain in the same way not enough water and vegetables is. You are blatantly misrepresenting the issue at hand.

      August 29, 2013 - 11:25

      Congratulations on finding one article to support your rant, even though JT didn't EVER ONCE say it's ok for teenagers to use pot. But since you brought it up, the current system is doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to keep pot out of the hands of the youth. Legalizing pot would free up resourses and millions of dollars that could be used to better educate teenagers about the risks (and provide information to those who have no idea what they're talking about).