As Justin Trudeau has been named leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Liberals across the country must be thrilled to see an injection of life into the struggling party. For some time now, they’ve been working to rebuild a public image and also have been going through something of an identity crisis – unable to garner much momentum in past elections and really connect with voters.

Trudeau, 41, is the oldest son of Margaret and former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

He was elected as a Member of Parliament in Papineau in Quebec in 2008 and re-elected in 2011.

There is no question the man has charisma to spare. He has turned into a celebrity of sorts. This was clearly seen when he was here in Red Deer this past January during a quick visit to Red Deer College.

About 200 people showed up on a freezing cold day to hear what he had to say, and there was plenty of excitement. He clearly connected with the crowd, and afterwards, many folks stayed around to meet him and have their photos taken with him as well. It’s been quite some time since any political leader generated that much enthusiasm in Central Alberta.

Now he has been placed at the head of his party, and it’s a bit of a different story. It’s one thing to be crisscrossing the country garnering support and saying pretty much whatever you please, making promises, and putting on the charm. Now the real work begins. Justin has his work cut out for him in proving that he has what it takes to govern the country, and be a viable choice for voters come the next federal election.

He certainly may not be a favourite in Alberta.

In November 2012 comments he made back in 2010 were published. He reportedly said during a television interview that “Canada isn’t doing well right now because it’s Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda.” The following day he apologized for making such remarks. People often have short memories, but comments like that could resurface to haunt him.

Meanwhile, he has big shoes to fill as he begins to walk to the same path that his father did so many years ago.

Pierre, another charismatic individual, was a well-liked and respected man and politician, though of course no without controversy particularly in western Canada.

It will be interesting to what kind of path Justin takes, and how talk of policies and political vision translate as he takes on his new role.

We know one thing is for sure – all of Canada will be watching.

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