Justin Trudeau on his father, his family and what's behind his run

Watch for our exclusive interview in this week's magazine

For many observers, Justin Trudeau’s bid to lead Canada’s Liberal party was a matter of “when” not “if.”

But as his destiny plays out, the 40-year-old MP knows his biggest challenge will be to prove there is more to recommend him than his family name.

In an interview in this week’s edition of Maclean’s, Trudeau tells Maclean’s Jonathon Gatehouse that although he had been shaped by his father’s values and vision, he’s very much his own man. “This is not the ghost of my father running for the leadership of the Liberal Party. This is me.”

And to focus on what he’s not is to lose sight of what Justin Trudeau undeniably is, writes Gatehouse: the most popular politician in all of Canada. A passionate orator and effective advocate for all sorts of causes. The kind of boldface name who can draw packed crowds to Liberal fundraisers anywhere in the country, whether it’s a barbeque in Windsor, Ont., university pub nights in Vancouver, or even a Stampede breakfast in hostile Calgary.

In a feature that includes new photos of Trudeau and his young family, Gatehouse reveals a man who is finally ready to emerge from his father’s long shadow and try to engage Canadians on his own terms. “Why am I doing this? Because I can, not because I want to. Because I must,” Trudeau says.

Also on Justin Trudeau in this week’s issue:

  • Leadership vacuum: Every Liberal will tell you that they don’t want a coronation of Justin Trudeau as the next leader. They want a race. That’s why Mark Carney’s name keeps coming up, whether he knows it or not. Ottawa Bureau Chief John Geddes reports.
  • A life in pictures: From the very beginning, Justin Trudeau has lived in the public eye, with cameras documenting the good times and the bad. Maclean’s presents some of the most moving Trudeau images from the past 40 years.
  • Western connection: Justin Trudeau’s maternal family was legendary in B.C. Liberal circles, and he spent much of his 20s there finding himself. A former ski buddy tells Vancouver bureau chief Ken MacQueen about an adventurous young man.

Maclean’s on the iPad:

  • This week, veteran photographer Peter Bregg discusses 40 years of photographing the Trudeau family.