Justin Trudeau says he would loosen the tight grip the Prime Minister’s Office has come to have on government, reversing a trend he admits began with his father, the former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
“Well, one of the things that we’ve seen throughout the past decades in government is the trend towards more control from the Prime Minister’s Office,” Trudeau told CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge in an interview for The National on Tuesday. “Actually it can be traced as far back as my father, who kicked it off in the first place.
“And I think we’ve reached the end point on that.”
Speaking about openness and transparency in government, Trudeau said that although it’s “generally understood” his father started that control in the Prime Minister’s Office, “I actually quite like the symmetry of me being the one who ends that.”
“My father had a particular way of doing things. I have a different way, and his was suited to his time and mine is suited to my time. I believe that we need to trust Canadians. I believe that it’s not just about restoring Canadians’ trust in government by demonstrating trust towards them, I think we get better public policy when it’s done openly and transparently.”
Trudeau also appears to be at odds with his father’s thinking — and more in line with that of his political rival Conservative Leader Stephen Harper — over which party should get the first chance at governing in a minority government situation.
The party that receives the most seats on Oct. 19 should get the first opportunity to govern, Trudeau said. During the 1979 campaign, his father had suggested that it’s not automatic and the governing party has a right to see what its options are before ceding power.
The Liberal leader said he couldn’t choose between the Conservatives or NDP to give or receive support and wouldn’t choose a “lesser of two evils.”