When Grade 12 St. Charles College student David DiBrina greets Justin Trudeau at his school Dec. 21, it won't be the first time he's met him.
DiBrina actually met the federal Liberal leadership candidate and son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau briefly at a large student leadership conference called WE Day at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Sept. 29.
Trudeau, the MP for Papineau, was one of the guest speakers at the event.
“He spoke about how as young people now, we need to start taking a stand and starting to say what's right and what's wrong,” DiBrina, the student trustee for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board and St. Charles' student president, said.
“He was talking about how helping someone is really the way to live your life. If you don't help anyone as you grow, how are you really growing spiritually, and how are you really growing on a personal level?”
After Trudeau's speech, DiBrina was allowed into the platinum lounge at the Air Canada Centre, where the guest speakers mixed with the crowd. That's when he met Trudeau.
“I said 'Great job,'” DiBrina said. “He said 'Thank you very much. Have a good day.' Then we met some of the other speakers. It was a quick experience, but it was very, very great. He was kind to everyone.”
Trudeau will make a brief appearance at St. Charles starting at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 21 to speak about youth empowerment and making a difference in the world. He'll also be answering some questions from the students.
DiBrina said Trudeau approached the school board to ask if he could speak to the students.
“When I found out there was an opportunity for him to come, I expressed how great of a motivator he is to young people, not just in Canada, but all over the world,” he said. “I was very, very excited for him coming to the school.”
While DiBrina said he's not sure about the future of the Liberal Party itself — at least on the federal stage — he said he thinks Trudeau is a good candidate to become the party's leader.
“He's very charismatic,” he said. “He cares for the young people in this country, and he cares about making a positive change in this country. So I think, yeah, he would be a good candidate, because he cares.”
Trudeau's appearance at St. Charles isn't supposed to be political, DiBrina said, but he said he thinks it would be a good thing if it inspires fellow students to become more interested in politics.
“Maybe they're going to say 'Wow, this guy is really great. Maybe I'm going to research the Liberal party a little bit more and go do my research on the prime minister now.'”