Harrison Happenings: Justin Trudeau ignites the torch

Age shouldn't dictate one's ability to lead the country

Two weeks ago, like many other Canadians, I followed the Liberal leadership convention with great interest. Why, when we have a federal government that kept us out of trouble and above water during difficult times?

I think most people who have watched the convention know why: We all have been missing “the spark.” But now, once again, there is a leader who not only knows and loves our country, but dares to dream about our destiny and is prepared to work towards it. Not alone, but with all of us, especially with the younger generations who so often feel left out in the decision-making process and therefore lose interest.

Justin Trudeau won the leadership with a landslide percentage not ever reached before during such an event and yet, some people stated immediately that he is too young and too inexperienced. Why, at the age of 41 and a life behind him steeped in politics? How old does one have to be to become the leader of our country? This job requires — especially in our time — a lot of energy and endurance, two items that tend to fade away when we approach midlife.

Also, when we make these assumptions about age, etc., we should not forget that every party leader has a team behind him or her that is well prepared for the duties and work needed to run the country. But, while these things can be learned, what it takes to be a leader, a leader who can ignite the torch,  is very rare and a gift that comes only once in a while.

By the way, I really liked the new set-up of the convention, including the one-week waiting period between the last debate and announcement of the new leader. It is a much needed first step towards a more modern way to deal with political “happenings.” Sure, having to wait might sometimes frustrate us, but it also provides necessary safe guards. As someone wrote recently in the Observer: “frustration is a component of democracy!”  I also liked Justin Trudeau’s acceptance speech which he delivered with thankfulness, again, a welcome change from the usual style.

Later in time, again like everybody else, I watched the Boston drama unfold and could not help but feel sorry for absolutely everybody involved. First, of course, for the victims of the bombing itself — innocent bystanders who were in the wrong spot at the wrong time. How much more innocent can one be? Next, for the entire population of Boston and its suburbs, who went collectively through intense days of the drama with all its implications, and especially for the policemen who got killed or injured in the course of duty. I felt sorry for the alleged bombers’ family, who had perhaps worked very hard to become worthwhile citizens of their new homeland and now felt betrayed  In a strange way, however, I also felt sorry for the two brothers, who apparently grew up in Chechnia, then were brought to the United States of America, but perhaps never really felt at home there. Both were healthy, athletic and had received a good education — what a waste of life:  one dead, the other wounded in the hospital, awaiting trial. Whatever will come out of this sad story, be it the act of only the two brothers or part of something much bigger, it is and remains a tragedy all around. And, in a way, we all feel like we are part of the picture, the picture of modern-day societies.

And this, I think, is what Justin Trudeau meant when he said, in an interview with Peter Mansbridge, that he would try to find out what is the cause of it all, so we, as a society, can deal with it and make sure it will not happen again.