Paul Wells in Conversation: Justin Trudeau

A sneak peek at this week’s exclusive cover story on Justin Trudeau and the year ahead


A digital edition of this week’s issue is available free if you follow this link.

On Tuesday morning in a near-empty café at Toronto’s Bell Lightbox building on King Street, I interviewed Justin Trudeau.

It’s been a little over two years since I spoke at any length with the Liberal leader. The last time, in 2012, breakfast at Ottawa’s Château Laurier led to a Maclean’s cover story making what felt then like an eccentric suggestion: that Liberals should make Trudeau their next leader. They did, and a lot has happened, and it’s time for Maclean’s readers to catch up with the man whose party has now led national polls for 16 consecutive months.

Trudeau’s next year will be dedicated to closing the deal with Canadian voters — or becoming the fourth consecutive Liberal leader to blow it. Trudeau said he has been planning for an election since he ran for the Liberal leadership, and that since the Conservatives started running TV ads criticizing him the day after he became the leader and have never stopped, “the campaign started a long time ago.”

But when MPs return to Parliament in September, it will be just over a year before the October 2015 election. Human nature being what it is, that will mean a solid year of pre-writ positioning by every party. “It’s pretty much non-stop between now and the election,” Trudeau told me.

Paul Wells in conversation with Justin Trudeau.

Maclean’s Political Editor Paul Wells in conversation with Justin Trudeau.

In a far-ranging discussion Trudeau took questions on budgeting, tax rates, the middle class, marijuana, Montreal mosques and the possibility that he could face somebody besides Stephen Harper as the leader of the Conservatives in 2015. What emerged was the outline, not of an electoral strategy, but of a plan for Liberal government. Of course it’ll be up to voters to decide whether that happens. In the meantime, Trudeau’s Maclean’s interview offers the most detailed indication yet of how he would run a federal government.

Here’s a preview of our conversation:

The full transcript of our interview is available in the digital edition of Maclean’s, available free for the next 60 days if you follow this link.

Related posts:

Deciphering Justin Trudeau 

A year-end interview with Justin Trudeau 

Justin Trudeau and the politics of pot 


Paul Wells in Conversation: Justin Trudeau

  1. If the pot thing wasn’t that much of an issue, why are reporters, sun news and the conservatives going after Trudeau about it ? I thought the next election was going to be fought on the economy. They(cons) haven’t let up on the pot thing since Trudeau was elected leader, and the more they(cons)persist, the polls seem to drop more. The cons will break the bank trying to take Trudeau down, they(con) will need that 1.5 to 1 dollar compared to the grits, that they are collecting from their base, and lets not forget the taxpayers treasury, in order to take Trudeau down, and I think its beginning to take Harper down. So come on Harper, with more pot adds.

  2. Notice how the author tried to trip Trudeau up on the Kinder Morgan Project, but Trudeau being astute, made it clear, he heard what he said. What attracts voters to Trudeau, is his genuine charisma and mystique, and when the next election comes around he(JT) will have plenty of ammunition to take on Harper, and he wont have to do a character assassination on Harper to get there.

  3. It is kind of pathetic how the privileged Trudeau is now mimicking Stephen Harper’s open and clear method of responding to questions directly. A little late to the game I think, plus Trudeau was not being clear. If he was going to be clear, surely he would have told us so, like the Prime Minister does.
    I also love the way Trudeau can’t make up his mind about pipelines. Come on, you are either for them or against them. Enough of this mushy, middle ground of assessing each and every pipeline on its own merits. Finally to put his own “new” ideas about pot forward as superior to our traditional, common sense, law and order approach on this issue is ridiculous. Our pot enforcement approach is the envy of the whole world. After all, even Trudeau had to admit in the interview that we are number one.

    • More breaking news on Trudeau’s inability to keep up with Stephen Harper. Recently, Harper held a closed Conservative event at Prairieland Park that attracted over 100! Conservative supporters. They literally cheered for everything that the Prime Minister said. Remarkably inspirational.

      Now, contrast the too-little, too-late approach of Trudeau. He will be attending the Saskatoon Folk Fest today. There will be thousands of people, BUT don’t be fooled. These are not necessarily Liberal supporters, they are just ordinary Canadians enjoying a great event. Trudeau will even have to pay for his own way in! No doubt, pictures will appear that are carefully cropped to make it look like Trudeau is popular. However, lets face it, if he could pull it off, he would have only Liberals around and make them pay admission rather than him just like the Prime Minister did.

      • Stew Art is good snarkasm.

  4. Your posture is terrible. Quit slouching!

    • As long as he didn’t wear his undershirt again.

  5. The Petite Dauphin two issue campaign Marijuana and a Carbon tax………….

    • Trudeau believes he is a good politician, but wait until the hardball questions are asked, then he will vanish faster then carrion at a hyena wildebeest kill. Not ready for prime-time.

      • Remember when ” Shiny Stupid” thought a CBC reporter who asked him a hard question was an employee of Sun TV?

  6. Can’t wait for the televised debates, Turdeau 2, the vapid airhead, will embarrass himself and the entire Liberal party.

    The polls predicted Paul Marin would win the largest majority in Canadian history, until days before the election.

    Stephane Dion was to win at the very least a strong minority.

    Iggy really was “just visiting”.


    • But Justin will be able to give Harper and Mulcair great personal grooming tips and latest info on Big Brother Canada

  7. Where does your compulsion to publicly lie come from, Bill?

  8. Anyone else try to access the “free” preview? Seems you have to subscribe first.

  9. Make it sound like you’re a schoolgirl out on a date Wells!

  10. I can’t read the full transcript without giving I-Tunes a credit card. Forget it.

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