Justin Trudeau says he would welcome Dalton McGuinty as opponent

HALIFAX – Liberal leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau says he would welcome the entrance of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty into the race to lead the federal party.

The perceived front-runner said today in Halifax that he didn’t want to speculate on McGuinty’s plans, one day after the Ontario leader announced his resignation.

Trudeau says McGuinty has served his province and country well and would add to what he insisted will be “a strong and robust leadership race.”

Trudeau, who addressed students at a packed high school auditorium, says he hasn’t spoken to McGuinty but added that there will be strong candidates running even if he decides not to enter the race.

McGuinty, who was first elected premier in 2003, has left the door open to the leadership bid and sources say a campaign road map has already been sketched out.

A movement to draft McGuinty has been fuelled by a sense that the race needs a heavyweight contender to challenge Trudeau, the eldest son of former prime minister and Liberal icon Pierre Trudeau.