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Justin Trudeau speaks at the federal Liberal leadership showcase in Toronto on April 6, 2013. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
Justin Trudeau speaks at the federal Liberal leadership showcase in Toronto on April 6, 2013. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

How Justin Trudeau plans to beat Stephen Harper Add to ...

Mr. Trudeau’s first major test as leader will come on May 13 when a by-election is held in the riding of Labrador. He is expected to travel to the riding before voting day, and his party is the favourite to take back the seat that was in Conservative hands until the recent resignation of MP and intergovernmental affairs minister Peter Penashue. A victory would offer a sweet moment in Mr. Trudeau’s first month as leader, while a defeat would prove a bitter letdown.

The next electoral test will come if Liberal MP Denis Coderre resigns his seat in Montreal to run for the mayoralty of the city in the fall. The riding is also traditionally Liberal, but the NDP will fight hard to expand its power base in Quebec. In addition, the separatist Bloc Québécois will look to emerge on the winning side of a potential three-way race, and can be expected to launch an all-out attack against Mr. Trudeau in his home province.

8. Keep focused on the message, even during heated exchanges

Mr. Trudeau was nervous when he stood up in Question Period last month to grill Mr. Harper, relying on his notes to ask his questions. He has been practising and can be expected to be better prepared if he gets the chance to quiz the Prime Minister again on Monday.

Liberals are well aware there will be much media attention on the first few exchanges between Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Harper, although they insist the election will not be won in the House. In addition, Mr. Trudeau’s team has been coaching him throughout the campaign to ensure that he remains focused on his message, while avoiding a theatrical or overdramatic delivery during heated exchanges.

The ultimate goal is for Mr. Trudeau to be prepared for the all-leaders’ debate that will be held in 2015.

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