Because I want a written record of where I was and how I was feeling when a relatively inexperienced MP declared his interest in the leadership of the third party, I’m going to watch Justin Trudeau’s announcement and write about it here. The historic fun begins around 7pm.
6:53pm. The announcement is already up on Justin.ca.
7:02pm. The Globe seems to have the speech Mr. Trudeau is supposed to deliver.
7:03pm. There is rhythmic clapping and Mr. Trudeau is in the room and on stage.
7:05pm. Sophie Gregoire indicates that everyone is here to support the man she loves and concedes some trepidation about all this (Mr. Trudeau had previously said he wouldn’t run because of family concerns).
7:07pm. Deep breath from Mr. Trudeau, dramatic pause, then a joke about how behind every great man is an astonished woman. Then he astutely lowers expectations with the opening line: “Don’t dream too small when you have the chance to move humanity forward.”
7:09pm. Some kind words about his riding and then the first applause line: a reference to him beating Patrick Brazeau.
7:11pm. Mr. Trudeau makes the announcement official and, briefly (probably mistakenly), some dance music kicks in.
7:13pm. The red backdrop behind him reads “Justin” in big font, with the “Trudeau” basically invisible. His first name has been turned into a stylized logo.
7:16pm. An extended meditation on the history of the country and the history of the Liberal party. But “we’re talking about the future, not the past.” Tonight is apparently the start of a “movement.”
7:20pm. This is all fairly unimpeachable stuff, but here are the areas of focus: young people, aboriginals, foreign policy, economic development, the environment, a prosperous middle class.
7:23pm. An extended section on the economy. Mr. Trudeau accuses the New Democrats and Conservatives of “tidy ideological answers.” Declares he will be entirely focused on evidence and facts. (Note to self: Bookmark this moment.) Repeats “middle class” several more times.
7:25pm. Now on to Quebec. A resolutely federalist pitch, but a desire to make the Liberals the standard bearer for francophones.
7:28pm. Tries to confront the attention and expectation his candidacy has drawn and deflect that attention to party renewal.
7:29pm. “I am running because I believe this country wants and needs new leadership.”
7:31pm. “I do not present myself as a man with all the answers. In fact, I think we’ve had quite enough of that kind of politics.”
7:32pm. “When was the last time you had a leader you actually trusted?”
7:33pm. Interesting nod to his life as a public person: from his childhood to now. Recalls his late brother, Michel. References his father (for the first time) to remember his reading of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians at Michel’s funeral (“When I was a child…”).
7:36pm. “I come before you this evening, with all of my qualities and a few of my flaws, but first and foremost with the firm dedication to succeed and earn the trust of all Canadians.”
7:37pm. “Courage, friends.” And he’s done. The crowd claps along to Maroon 5’s “Moves like Jagger.” (Please let that be the campaign theme song.)
7:45pm. A decent first speech, I think. A decent enough introduction. I’ve never been a big fan of Mr. Trudeau’s performance style—a bit too much in my experience—but I think he was fairly well-contained here, save for a few odd flourishes (and I know that a lot of people who don’t spend their days watching politicians deliver speeches respond to Mr. Trudeau’s style). I probably come away remembering that Mr. Trudeau is about young people, hard work and change (and that he can deliver a more obviously interesting speech than probably anyone else in this race). There are six months to start to fill in the (sizeable) blanks.