On November 28th Marc Garneau announced that he was throwing his hat in the ring for the leadership of the federal Liberal party. Currently the retired astronaut is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Westmount-Ville-Marie. Garneau also has the distinction of being the Liberal Party House Leader. Despite his impressive credentials, however, Garneau will have his work cut out for him if he wants to win the leadership race as Justin Trudeau is widely perceived to the frontrunner for the top job.
Garneau, 63, boasts an extensive resume that includes his work as a military officer, astronaut, and engineer. For the majority of Canadians, however, his greatest claim to fame is the fact that he was the first Canadian in space. During his time at NASA he took part in three space shuttle missions (1984, 1996, and 2000). In total Garneau spent a grand total of over 29 days in outer space. He also served as president of the Canadian Space Agency from 2001-2006.
The Quebec City native was originally elected to political office in 2008. He’s held the Montreal riding for many years and was one of the few Liberals to hold onto their seats in the wake of last years NDP surge in the province of Quebec.
Despite his experience in politics and science Garneau’s biggest obstacle will be convincing Liberal party members to vote for him rather than Justin Trudeau. Given the frontrunner’s popularity, charisma, youthfulness, and family name it’s clear that Trudeau not only has a lot to live up to. Any way you look at it Justin Trudeau will be a worthy adversary for Garneau’s political ambitions.
The year 2013 is shaping up to be an interesting year in terms of the Liberal party. Members will not only be voting in a new leader but they must also choose what direction in which to take the party and its policies in the future.