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I also began to feel that a generational change was approaching, one that might open up new possibilities. A grocery store parking lot, to be precise, directly across the street from a shawarma restaurant and a barbershop.
It was against this backdrop that I made my first steps into politics. But the connections you make with the people who invest their hope and trust in you, that's what gets you through all of the rest. It was just me with a clipboard, approaching strangers to ask if they would pay ten dollars to purchase a Liberal Party membership. It was the opening days of the nomination battle to choose the candidate who would carry the Liberal banner in Papineau once the election was called.
Being away from my wife and young family to serve as an MP and Leader of the Liberal Party is always very tough, but I also find it useful in giving me perspective.
It prompts a few simple questions: Is the time I spend away from my family worth it?
That summer, in a quiet moment of reflection on a hillside, I realized my next step: I would become a schoolteacher.
This would be my way of having a positive influence in the world.
I was inspired by the extraordinary father I'd had, the example he set for me to follow.
Sophie and I had wanted kids almost since the day we got married. Xavier James Trudeau was born October 18, 2007, the day my dad would have turned eighty-eight. He was a fat, happy baby with his mother's green eyes and open-hearted disposition.
Sixteen months later, on the fifth of February, 2009, Ella-Grace Margaret Trudeau followed suit.
Ella was luminous and peaceful, but with a will, determination, and quick mind that soon had her running circles around the rest of the household. Well, no big surprise: she has me wrapped around her little finger.
Five years later our third child, Hadrien, entered the world and continues to add more joy to our lives every day.
Before I knew it I had graduated from the University of British Columbia's education program and was teaching in Vancouver, mostly in French and math.
After years of teaching on the West Coast, I decided that it was time to return home to Quebec.