From the ground up: Justin Trudeau tackles Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke

RENFREW – The leader of the Liberal Party of Canada might have been on the job for only three weeks, but he is already trying to rebuild the party from the ground up.

On May 6, Justin Trudeau visited two communities in the Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke riding in an effort to offer
supporters hope for the future.
He began his day in Arnprior, where he visited a high school and met with students. In the afternoon, he headed to the Royal Canadian Legion in Renfrew, where he took part in a meet and greet attended by more than 150 people.
Trudeau, the son of the late former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, told The Valley Gazette his visit to the riding had more to do with actually listening to people’s concerns rather than just shaking hands. “It was a great visit,” he said. “I can really see that here in the Valley, much like right across the country, there is a hope that we are going to get politics of a better calibre in the coming years.”
He heard concerns ranging from the twinning of Highway 17 to concerns about the designation of the Ottawa River as a heritage river.
Trudeau said he heard from local farmers who are worried about making a strong livelihood in the Valley, and from residents who want to draw in jobs to attract and keep young people in the area. “So [the concerns were] very similar in general to the concerns that I have heard from Canadians right across the country, but there is always a local flare and a need to respond to regional issues as well,” he said.
He noted that he is mindful of the fact that the majority of voters here in Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke have been voting for the Conservatives for more than a decade.
But Trudeau explained that, like many other jurisdictions across the country, people are getting discouraged with politics. Voter turnout is getting lower each year and people do not have faith in the system, he said.
“People are frustrated that they send voices from their community to represent their community’s concern in Ottawa, and instead, they get voices from the Prime Minister’s office back here in their communities instead,” he said. “I think this riding is a great example of that, of an M.P. who hasn’t been doing a very good job speaking loud and proud for the concerns of people who are in the ground… People deserve better than that.”

Story continues in the Arpil 24, 2013 issue of The Valley Gazette.