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Quora offers clues as to why Justin Trudeau won’t yet seek Liberal helm

Justin Trudeau has ruled out running for the Liberal leadership for now, saying he hardly sees his two young children now.

A recent exchange on the website Quora may provide some insight into the 39-year politician's decision.

As a kid living at 24 Sussex Drive, the Montreal Liberal MP and son of Pierre Trudeau says his was not a normal upbringing. He often "fantasized" about living in Riverdale with ginger-haired Archie Andrews and Betty and Veronica.

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Asked what life was like as " scion of a head of government," Mr. Trudeau wrote a lengthy answer, describing the life of he and his two brothers had at the official residence. He noted that his parents had separated when he was about 7 or 8. He and his brothers lived with their father and their mother bought a house close by.

"After school, we played and did our homework, had dinner, and then our father would come home around 6:30 spend some time with us, often in the pool, and put us to bed around 8:00. He would then work in his study late into the night (where we would find him going over piles of documents and briefing books if we had trouble sleeping)," he wrote.

"It's interesting for me to look back (particularly now that I know firsthand the demands on a politician's time) and realize that he almost never left the house or had meetings between 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. He made us a priority that the rest of his schedule had to work around."

Long rumoured to be interested in the Liberal leadership, Mr. Trudeau recently ruled that out. He told a group of young Liberals in Waterloo that he was not running for the leadership " this time around." He mentioned that he hardly sees his children as it is.

In his Quora answer, he noted, too, that when he and brothers were older his father would take one individually on official trips. He wonders now about the hue and cry if the Prime Minister were to do the same.

Reflecting on the constant RCMP detail, and the fact that his was hardly a normal childhood, he said that's when he fantasized about hanging out with Archie and his friends.

"But at the same time, I knew how lucky and privileged were, and fully understood that with these opportunities came a responsibility to do right by them, which is something that I certainly hope has characterized my life since then," he wrote.

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Mr. Trudeau told The Globe Wednesday he discovered Quora through a Wired article a few months back and "was really taken by the idea of filling the space between Facebook and Wikipedia."

"It's a community where people with expertise or knowledge in particular areas can answer the kinds of questions that you can't easily find elsewhere on the Internet," he said. "As I understand it Quora started as a community focused on helping share expertise for startups in Silicon Valley, but has developed a much broader range as screenwriters, particle physicists, magicians, psychologists and folks from about every field imaginable begin to contribute."

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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