From the legalization of marijuana to the Idle No More movement, federal Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau answered questions on a wide array of topics during his campaign stop in Brandon Thursday.
More than 200 people came out to the event at Brandon University, organized by the school’s political science club.
"(I’m) really touched by the number of students and people from the community who came out to talk about how we can change politics," said Trudeau, the eldest son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.
"I’ve been humbled and overwhelmed by the kind of response I’ve gotten right across the country. People want to see politics done differently and that’s what’s really exciting."
Trudeau said there is a "tremendous cynicism" around politics in Canada and that citizens need to be re-engaged.
"We need to once again understand how important it is that all of our voices be heard," he said. "We have tremendous challenges ahead of us and the Liberal party finds itself at a point where we have the extraordinary opportunity to re-think, re-invent and completely re-engage with Canadians."
The university’s ceremony room was packed with supporters, young and old, as well as others simply interested in politics. Some asked for autographs, many posed for photos and several asked questions of the Liberal MP.
When asked where he stands on the legalization of cannabis in Canada, Trudeau said "I’m in favour."
"Not just to decriminalization, which is an idea that’s time is way overdue, but also of legalization … of taxing and regulating marijuana," he said.
If marijuana is regulated, it becomes much easier to control who has access to it, Trudeau said.
The Idle No More movement is an "extraordinary opportunity" for the country to get relations with First Nations people "right," Trudeau said.
"Liberals have lost relevance and seats across the country because we’ve disconnected with Canadians," he said. "We’ve turned in on ourselves rather than turning out towards Canadians and this campaign is all about that."
Strengthening the middle class, looking at economic solutions, better access to education and better use of natural resources are some of the key points in Trudeau’s campaign.
Carissa Taylor, president of the Brandon University Students’ Union said she was pleased to see such a large turnout for the event.
"It’s great to see such a buzz created about politics on campus," she said.
"It doesn’t really matter what your political affiliations are. It’s good to have students engaged in wanting to have a say in who our next future leader could possibly be."
Manitoba Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard said it’s exciting to see people of all ages attending Trudeau’s campaign events.
"We’re seeing an openness and an engagement that we haven’t seen for a while," he said.
Liberal leadership candidate David Bertschi made an appearance in Brandon Thursday night at Canad Inns.
All nine Liberal leadership candidates are expected to attend a debate in Winnipeg on Saturday.
Fellow candidate Marc Garneau will attend a brunch on Sunday with Liberal supporters in Brandon at Highland Avenue Smitty’s Restaurant at 10 a.m.