Call it a running head start to win votes.
Federal Liberal leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau was in Toronto Tuesday, charming a future generation of voters at a local school.
Trudeau toured the Leo Baeck Day School, fielding questions from the Grade 6-8 students there.
Then, he faced reporters for another barrage of questions on topics ranging from the vote south of the border to his stance on Iran.
On the U.S. election, Trudeau said he’s “willing to work with any president who gets elected,” before adding that he nevertheless has a personal preference.
“Like many Canadians, I’m hopeful that Mr. Obama gets elected,” he said, citing the incumbent’s values and “concern for Americans’ prosperity in a more substantive way, in a more responsible way than Mr. Romney has indicated.
“That’s why I’m leaning towards him, even if it’s an impolitic thing to say.”
On the subject of Iran’s apparent nuclear ambitions, Trudeau said the Middle Eastern nation represents “a credible and real threat that I am extremely worried about.”
He also noted that he does not share the views of his documentary-film making brother Alexandre, whose work ‘The Fence’ includes an examination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“On the issue of Iran, and Israel specifically, we disagree significantly,” he said.
Trudeau added that he is a strong supporter of Israel, and believes Canada’s position would be the same, no matter who is in power.
In that light, Trudeau poked at Prime Minister Stephen Harper for trying to make it appear otherwise.
“My concern is that he continues to make support for Israel a domestic, political, strategic issue,” he said.
When asked to weigh in on the dispute between Ontario teachers and the provincial government, Trudeau said he knew better than to comment on matters of provincial jurisdiction.
And when reporters pressed him to reveal his opinions on the provincial Liberals’ burgeoning race to replace outgoing leader Dalton McGuinty, Trudeau was equally careful.
“I think it’s going to be exciting, ” he said, explaining he as “happy to see so many strong Liberals getting involved.”
Trudeau, who represents the Montreal riding of Papineau, is considered the front-runner in the race to find a new leader for the federal Liberals.
The party will make its choice at a convention in April 2013.
Full article published here.