“Can't wait for solutions” - Justin Trudeau inspires Guelph audience.

Friday, January 27, 2006


Written by Rohan Deogaonkar / Julia Chapman

Justin Trudeau captivated a sold-out crowd at War Memorial Hall on Thurs., Jan. 19, as part of a series of events marking UofG’s Citizenship Awareness Month. One of Canada’s best-known advocates of youth volunteerism, education and empowerment, Trudeau challenged both young and old alike to think about the dreams they have to make the world a better place.

In his own words, “I refuse to not believe that we cannot make it happen, that every individual isn’t capable of waking up and because the bottom line is, I refuse to live in a world that doesn’t dream.”

Son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Justin says that a sense of responsibility is what inspires him to do his work and continually motivates him. “I’ve been given so much in life randomly and by my father and as Canadians, we’ve all been given such extraordinary luck just being Canadian and being here, we’ve been give the responsibility to turn around and see where we can go with all the advantages we’ve been given” he says.

Talking about a society in which individualism tends to reign supreme, Trudeau pushed the audience to think of the importance of small gestures in an accelerated and rapidly changing world and to start thinking as real citizens who understand the big picture and recognize their importance coupled with the roles they play. With utmost conviction Trudeau tells us “Some people say the problem is just too big and that’s something I refuse to accept. I refuse to believe that we are incapable of this. We’re getting close to that edge; we’re close to the moment where if people don’t start picking up actively their individual responsibility to change the world, it’s going to be too late.”

When asked what his definition of Citizenship is, Trudeau confidently states “it is the ability to think and act beyond your own narrow interests.” His solution to make things right – “Just get active. Know that each journey starts with a single step and don’t wait for things to change, don’t wait for opportunity to come up, start kicking down doors. Literally, at that.”

So what did some of the audience members think of his talk ?

“He had a wonderful talk and discussion, but his motives were to motivate youth
to take action in our world and get out and vote, and the majority of people
there were already on the motivated, action based bandwagon. There needs to be
a means to reach out and touch the hearts of those who aren't volunteering!”
– Tyler Herman

“I found Justin Trudeau charming, and he is clearly intelligent. However, his
message was nothing special, nothing different than what we have been hearing
for years. I left rather uninspired.”

  • Cintia Anselmo

“I felt Justin Trudeau expressed a good spectrum of ideas. In particular, the
emphasis on 'present' citizenship as opposed to down-the-line involvement and
the realization that in order to really appreciate any possible investments we
need to re-evaluate our definition of economic success.”
  • Michelle Ponert

“I thought he spoke very powerful words about the future of our country and
importance of Canadians to be active NOW to make positive change.
His thoughts were a little scattered at times but overall an efffective speaker.”
  • Jamie Forrest

“Justin Trudeau was a very charismatic speaker and captivated the attention of
the audience through his comfortable and warm approach. While he was
interesting to listen to and his message of youth voting was particularly
applicable to the situation today. However, I did not find his message to be
all that original or motivational. I found his message of youth being the voice
and leaders of tomorrow to be a bit cliché but overall the presentation was
interesting and he was very down to earth and knowledgeable.”
  • Kristen Wallace

“Overall I think that Justin's message was a positive one, however
his ideas on youth voter apathy and the need for youth volunteerism
are not revolutionary. His words were certainly inspirational but I wonder
about how much staying power they will have in the minds of those who
attended. Perhaps the thousands of dollars that it cost to bring Justin
to campus could have been better spent on the promotion of actual youth
volunteer activities in our community.”
  • Derek Pieper
| More


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  1. Posted by: uter on Jan 27, 2006 @ 5:53pm

    hmmm, though it is always nice to listen to a half celebrity, I would hardly call his speech inspirational. I was there and the message was one I had heard a thousand times. He did not speak for very long nor did his speech contain much useful content. I feel bad for anyone that actually ahd to spend $10 to tell me what I've known since Grade 10. If the last comment in this article by Derek Pieper is correct, that it cost thousands of dollars to bring him here, consider this a big waste. It was also nice to see Justin's limousine waiting for him outside after I left, probably had been idling for an hour.

  2. Posted by: Jesse on Jan 29, 2006 @ 3:30pm

    "It was also nice to see Justin's limousine waiting for him outside after I left, probably had been idling for an hour."

    Sounds like a good old-fashined Liberal to me.

    I seriously wonder whether anybody would care about what Justin T had to say, were he not a teeny hunk. Or if here weren't Pierre's son. Or if he tried, just once, to string together four sentences that didn't involve a cliche.

  3. Posted by: on Jan 31, 2006 @ 10:58am

    It is certainly true that his talk cost several thousand dollars. It's not surprising that what he discussed was at grade 10 level, as the citizen awaremeness week speaker of last year spoke at about the same level. Last year it was Maude Barlow, who has a lot of really great stuff to say, but the talk focused more on "getting involved" glossy talk, which in my view is less inspiring then talking about the actual research she has done, which is actually very inspiring. But my main concerns with Justin's talk (I did not attend) was that the Mercury headline the next day talked about his loyalty to the Liberal party and the like. I have my own criticisms of the Liberals, but what I object to the most was the part of the article that said:

    "Trudeau said the idea of privatized health care scares him and most Canadians, but perhaps it needs to be tested just to ensure it will be a disaster."

    WHAT??????? Just look at the US model, which costs much more per person, has higher death rates, and leaves millions without coverage. Yeah, lets try it. Who needs universal, publicly funded health care anyway?

  4. Posted by: Jesse on Jan 31, 2006 @ 2:43pm

    Well that's pretty typical Liberal double-talk, isn't it? Trying to scare people over things that secretly they aren't so oppossed to after all.

    On privatized health-care though, I'd like to make a point. There are varying degrees of privatization plans. On one end, there's universal health care for every service conceivable. On the other hand, there's total privatization.

    Canada fits neither of those ends of the spectrum. We might have universal support for a lot of services, but we don't have it for everything. Therefore, in a technical sense we already have a semi-privatized system.

  5. Posted by: Jesse on Jan 31, 2006 @ 2:54pm

    To that extent, I disagree with Scott's suggestion that by simply mentioning privatizion, a person is supporting US-style health-care.

    I agree that the American system is not the way to go. The fact is people in the US can go bankrupt because they have to fight cancer, or because they have a seriously ill child.

    But I would argue that there may be some services for which privatization, or semi-privatization, might make sense. Services which aren't essentials. (see some of the debates on sex-change operation coverage, for instance). While people should be allowed to have access to those services, I don't feel our taxes should always have to foot the bill.

  6. Posted by: uter on Jan 31, 2006 @ 5:09pm

    What about the big A being completely funded? It fits right in with Canada's secular culture though doesn't it.

  7. Posted by: on Jan 31, 2006 @ 9:26pm

    The big A being abortion?

  8. Posted by: on Jan 31, 2006 @ 9:52pm

    I understand that there are differing degrees of privatization, and that some services in Canada are already privatized. Even though the depth of the quote is limited, it certainly implies privatized hospitals (stay over night kind). It's like saying: Maybe we have to try global warming just to see if it really will be a disaster. Anyway, it's my opinion that the big A should be publicly funded, but that special interest things for purely esthetic purposes like a nose job should not be publicly funded. Of course, all is open for debate. But how about adding eye, dental and pharma care to your coverage? I personally think this is something we should advocate for when talking to the media rather than saying we should try something that is likely to be a "disaster".

  9. Posted by: John h on Jan 31, 2006 @ 10:40pm

    There's an element of the chicken little/sky is falling worldview on the issue of privatization. There are various models around the globe of mixed public/private healthcare. It seems rather arrogant to claim that Canada simply has the best model and nothing can/should be considered as a alternative.

  10. Posted by: Jesse on Jan 31, 2006 @ 11:32pm

    Dental coverage is a good source of debate, I think. But only with regards to procedures that are medical necessities.

    Drug plans would probably fit into the same boat...but then again, the costs of that program would be so staggering.

    I think privatization can work in some cases (like it does already with eye, dental, etc). BUT, I think that there are cases where stricter regulations, particularly with regard to costs, could have a benefit. Think about all the 100 dollar check-ups you've had from your dentist since the 1980s.....

  11. Posted by: on Feb 1, 2006 @ 12:37pm

    Drugs cost too much? Why don't we just nationalize the pharmaceudical industry?

    I do agree that the medical frills should be paid for by the person who wants them, but that ALL medical necessities should be completely covered. Should you be able to get caffine pills for free? I don't think so. Should you be able to get antibiotics for free when you are sick and really need them? I think so.

  12. Posted by: Jesse on Feb 1, 2006 @ 1:32pm

    I understand what you're saying...but costs are a significant consideration. Being realistic (in a political sense), there's little chance you could get the public at large to vote for the huge tax raises that a plan of that magnitude would demand.

    More realistic solutions to all of these cost problems would be to have better cost regulations. Drugs aren't the type of thing that should be left up to supply and demand......more importantly, most drugs sell for hundreds of times their actual production cost. Reforming patent laws or imposing some form of price ceiling could prove very beneficial. Those are more realistic policies, in the sense I could actually see a government passing them in this day and age.

  13. Posted by: Jesse on Feb 1, 2006 @ 1:36pm

    The one variable you do have to wrestle with, however, is the need for drug companies to have profit-motive. I know it doesn't sound nice, but the fact is that a substantial amount of drug research is funded by those pharmeceutical corporations. So if they don't stand to gain much by pioneering the next 'miracle drug', there's a good chance they might put less into R and D.

    I'm not really taking a stand for/against drug companies, or federal drug legislation. I'm just pointing out some of the extremely complex variables you need to consider when talking about these kinds of ideas.

  14. Posted by: john h on Feb 5, 2006 @ 3:06pm


    Nationalize the pharmaceutical industry sounds like a pretty complex, and expensive, undertaking. Most are Canadian divisions of multinational firms. Do we simply do a hostile takeover? What message are we sending to other sectors if we do that? How much do we pay? Things are very rarely as simple as some believe.

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