Normally the kind of wall-to-wall crowd assembled at the Brass Taps this afternoon is there to see some popular indie band. Or are there for trivia night. Rarely does a politician make this kind of smash anyway, especially when he or she is from a major Federal party. But today, the Original JT - that's Justin Trudeau - brought political sexy back to the Brass Taps at the University of Guelph's University Centre.
Running late (naturally), more and more people crowded into The Taps, and when Trudeau finally arrived they were not disappointed. Given a heroes welcome, and a new Gryphons scarf, Trudeau started hitting all his talking points. "There is so much at our fingertips," Trudeau said, adding that the youth in the room were "more empowered to change the world than ever before."
"Politics has become a game of winning," he continued. "It's about electoral advantage, and not about the kind of services [we need] and working together to build a strong country."
That line got a lot of applause, as did Trudeau's follow-up observation about governing one country, and not "picking and choosing which parts of the country we want to represent."
Throughout the course of his speech, Trudeau never really talked specifics in terms of the issues that might concern some of the young people in the room, issues like jobs or education funding, but in the broad strokes he was talking the students' language.
"A citizen isn't just someone who pays taxes, obeys the law and votes from time to time," he said before encouraging students to lend their voices to the cause saying, "We don't need people representing Ottawa to us."
After his speech, Trudeau took a couple of questions, the most salient of which was about electoral reform, which Trudeau says that he is absolutely in favour of although he's not yet convinced about proportional representation. In his mind, Trudeau sees PR as an invitation to more partisanship not less, it would re-enforce party loyalty and give a lot of single-issue parties more leverage and power. We do need to get past first-past-the-post, Trudeau said, but perhaps something more akin to a preferential ballot. However, Trudeau joked, just make sure you rank the "blue guy" after the Communist candidate.
You can listen to Trudeau's prepared remarks, in their entirety, below: