By Joe Couture, The Leader-Post
A decade to the day after the death of Pierre Trudeau, the former prime minister's son Justin -- now a Liberal MP and the opposition immigration critic -- was visiting Regina.
"I reflect on my father every single day of my life, particularly in this job," Trudeau said after visiting the Regina Open Door Society on Tuesday.
Liberal MP and immigration critic Justin Trudeau visited the Regina Open Door Society on Tuesday.
Courtesy: Photograph by: Roy Antal, The Leader-Post, The Leader-Post
"I don't particularly celebrate this day as an anniversary," he continued.
"I celebrate his birthday every year, which also happens to be the birthday of my eldest son, so it makes it a time to remember all the extraordinary things that my father did as a dad. I'll let the historians and journalists wrangle over what his legacy is and I'll remember the values that he shared with me, the way he raised me as a phenomenal dad. It's nice to see pictures of him on the TV and in the news today, but he's always close to my heart."
Trudeau said his visit to Regina was in the spirit of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff's tasking cabinet members to "get out of the Ottawa bubble, get out of our ridings across the country and start talking about the kind of country we want to build."
"It's not about just talking about it," he said. "It's about listening. It's about hearing people. It's about engaging with people on the challenges they're facing. Listening to their fears and their concerns and trying to allay them. Listening to their hopes and their dreams and trying to fulfil them. That's what politics is all about."
He said that, under the Conservative government, "people have forgotten the government should be about that."
His said visiting the Open Door Society was "excellent."
"Organizations like this that work extremely hard don't get the pay or the recognition that they need," he said. "For me to be able to come and tell them, 'Wow, you guys are doing a great job. It's really important. It fits into the kind of Canada we need to build,' is very rewarding to them, but it's also tremendous for us to be able to see what good work they're doing."
He said his priority as critic is to ensure the government "doesn't keep polarizing the issue around immigration."
"We're allowing people to become anti-immigrant in Canada. We're playing into people's fears. We're playing into people's ignorance, as well, because the government has not led in its responsibility to educate people that our prosperity ... is going to depend on the immigrants."
Trudeau also planned to visit the First Nations University of Canada and meet with Liberal Party supporters.
Ralph Goodale, Regina Liberal MP and deputy party leader, said it was "encouraging" that Trudeau visited the city.
"I think he has a dimension now, an understanding, of immigration on the Prairies," Goodale said.
"He'll remember what (the Open Door Society) is and how it functions and what it needs."
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