Justin Trudeau is embarking on the perilous task of writing his life story at the age of 42, hoping the positive that comes with putting out his own narrative outweighs the risk of exposing his darker days and his relative lack of experience.
The Liberal Leader’s political rivals are already making fun of his decision to publish his memoirs in the fall, one year ahead of the next scheduled federal elections. But Liberals feel that Mr. Trudeau will benefit from the opportunity to lay out his own story, in his own words, instead of allowing Conservative attack ads to define him.
Liberal officials said there is no working title for the project, which Mr. Trudeau will write and dictate – in both official languages – with the help of editorial assistants.
The book will be more of a life story than a political manifesto, with Mr. Trudeau suggesting that he plans to discuss difficult moments in his life, such as his parents’ divorce when he lived at 24 Sussex Dr. with his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.
“I’ve had a lot of conversations with Canadians who feel like they’ve seen me grow up, but at the same time have questions about the man I am,” the Liberal Leader said in the foyer of the House of Commons. “I am someone who is very open, so there will the good moments, but also admissions of the more difficult moments in my life, which I will discuss frankly.”
There will still be a political bent to the book, with readers getting a better understanding of Mr. Trudeau’s values and his decision-making process at crucial moments in his life. The hope is to showcase some of the judgment calls that Mr. Trudeau had to make, especially since he entered politics in 2008.
“It’s an opportunity for me to share my vision with the country at a time where Canadians are looking carefully to see what kind of leader I am,” Mr. Trudeau said.
Politicians around the world have written autobiographical books in a bid to build their brand and further their careers. One of the best known examples in Canada was Jean Chrétien’s 1985 Straight From The Heart, which laid the groundwork for his eventual return as Liberal leader in 1990.
Barack Obama, whose campaign and governing styles have inspired the Trudeau team, has derived much political success by releasing Dreams From My Father (1995) and The Audacity of Hope (2006) before he became U.S. President. He published the first book in his thirties.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, 59, said he will likely wait until he is in his seventies before tackling his memoirs. Speaking to reporters, he laid out how his own life was different from Mr. Trudeau’s, suggesting that he plans to use the material in the memoirs to attack his Liberal rival.
Mr. Mulcair said he came from a “modest background” and went to work as a lawyer as soon as he finished law school.
“We’ve had very different lives and different experiences,” the NDP Leader told reporters. “I frankly might think about doing that in another 15 years, but despite 35 years’ experience, I’m not sure that that type of exercise is appropriate.”
Mr. Trudeau’s memoir will also be published in French by Les Éditions La Presse, and in English by HarperCollins Canada. Profits from the sale of the memoir will go to the Red Cross.
“As a leader, he has inspired and connected to countless Canadians. Now we have the chance to see, through his eyes, his formative years and experiences, which are like none other, as well as his challenges and triumphs behind the scenes,” Iris Tupholme, executive VP, publisher and editor-in-chief of HarperCollins Canada, said in the news release.