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Gerrard endorses Justin Trudeau's bid for top Liberal spot

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Manitoba Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard today threw his support behind Justin Trudeau and his bid to become the next leader of the federal Liberal party.

"I just think that he's the right person for this time and our country," Gerrard said this morning.

The eldest son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau announced his candidacy Oct. 2.

Gerrard said he and Trudeau are good friends and it was logical he publicly declare his support now, rather than hold back.

"I just believe that Justin is the person who’s got that ability to reach out to young people to create a new interest in politics across the country and to provide a very different and very forward-looking vision for Canada as opposed to what we have at the moment under (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper," Gerrard said.

Trudeau will be in Winnipeg for a rally this Saturday at the Punjab Banquet Hall, 94 Mandalay Dr. It begins at 3 p.m. 

Toronto-based constitutional lawyer Deborah Coyne, the mother of Trudeau's half-sister, has already announced her candidacy.

Reports say other prominent Liberals are also considering a run for the top job. They include Montreal MP Marc Garneau, Canada's first astronaut, Vancouver MP Joyce Murray, former cabinet minister Martin Cauchon, former MP and leadership candidate Martha Hall Findlay, Ontario government economist Jonathan Mousley, former Ottawa candidate David Bertschi, Toronto lawyer George Takach, and David Merner, former president of the party's B.C. wing.

Ottawa MP David McGuinty is also reported to be thinking about his chances, but is not considered a likely candidate. Veteran Montreal MP Denis Coderre is meanwhile considering whether to run for the Liberal leadership or mayor of Montreal.

Manitoba paramedic Shane Geschiere, who earlier said he’d enter the race, pulled out after Trudeau announced his intentions.

The leadership contest doesn't officially begin until Nov. 14, with the leadership convention taking place on April 14.

Meanwhile, Gerrard said provincial Liberals pick their new leader at their own leadership convention in October 2013. Gerrard announced his resignation last spring.

He said at this point he has no intention of running in the next federal election. Gerrard was a MP from 1993 to 1997 and was a secretary of state in the government of Jean Chrétien before becoming Manitoba Liberal Leader in 1998.

"People can say what they want, but right now that’s not my plan," Gerrard said. "We’ll see how things develop."

"I’m not doing this for personal gain," he added of his support for Trudeau. "As everybody knows, there’s a leadership convention and I’ll be stepping down as leader next year. I plan to stay on as MLA in River Heights as I’ve promised people in River Heights."

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