Why Justin Trudeau Won

by Brad Zubyk

Strategic voting, anti-Harper sentiment, charisma, family legacy, a well-run campaign, even “boyish good looks.” Pundits and editorialists are taking their best guesses at how and why Justin Trudeau was elected as Canada’s prime-minister-designate on Monday.

Sure, all those things played a role. There was a huge appetite for change, but the Canadian electorate had a choice and their clear choice was Trudeau.

Ultimately, I believe that’s because Trudeau showed Canadians something profound and authentic.

After three years of thoughtful preparation and a 78-day campaign, Canadians saw beyond the legacy of his famous father and came to know a man who is comfortable in his own skin, true to his convictions and downright fervent about his dreams for Canada.

Trudeau says hello to Gregory Bobby

Trudeau says hello to Gregory Bobby

We heard about it in his impassioned, albeit scripted, speeches, like this one in Brampton, Ont. on October 4. 

But we also got true insight into the man through spontaneous and underreported moments of the campaign, like in this video caught by Global News. where after a gruelling day with four campaign stops, Trudeau made the time to say hello to eight-year-old Gregory Bobby and his father after the little boy was seen crying when he couldn’t get in to a crowded rally in Winnipeg.

Examples like these give you a glimpse into the essence of a person.

Trudeau didn’t waver from his big ideas, even when they were controversial—he took a pro-Keystone stance, remained committed to electoral reform and pledged to legalize marijuana.

He didn’t run from the media. He admitted he didn’t have all the answers, and he apologized and took swift action when he, or his supporters, made gaffes. He refused to run a negative campaign.

Ultimately, Trudeau gave us a compelling and aspirational vision of our country and its values.

People connected with the man and his message. They saw inspiration and integrity, and they liked what they saw. That motivated armies of volunteers who mobilized the Liberal ground game. They knocked on doors, posted lawn signs, and persuaded their family and friends to get on board.

Thanks to their efforts, on Monday we entered a new era, with a new age leader who places truth and honesty above politicking. The challenge will be continuing to use this unique tool kit when times get tough in government.


Brad Zubyk is a dyed-in-the-wool politico who has been at the forefront of strategic communications in British Columbia since 1993. He creates innovative, effective solutions for clients that achieve tangible results and help strengthen their reputations. Brad’s experience in senior leadership functions on multiple election campaigns also enables him to counsel companies on positioning their government requests and to facilitate dialogue between clients and decision makers.