The frontrunner in the federal Liberal leadership race appears to be turning to the past for help in his political future.
Michael Kydd, who was sharing a red-eye flight from Halifax late Tuesday with Justin Trudeau, passed the Liberal leadership contender a note that said: “Justin, can you really beat Harper? Wishing you all the best!”
“The idea came in my head that you know, let me just write him a little note, and have a little bit of fun,” Kydd told 680News’ sister station in Halifax.
Trudeau wrote back “just watch me” — the iconic phrase used by his dad during the FLQ crisis when asked how far he was willing to go to stop militant Quebec separatists.
Kydd posted a photo of the note on Twitter.
— Michael Kydd (@Kydder) March 20, 2013
“I’m not reading anything into it,” Kydd said.
“It’s just him writing a little joke back to my comment and that’s it. I think it’s just a couple of young Gen-Xers having a good time.”
“I have always been a Tory in the past, a proud Tory, and I saw this as an opportunity to just have fun and get a cute, little response out of it,” Kydd said.
Trudeau confirmed on Twitter that the note was genuine.
680News political affairs specialist John Stall said it was no fluke that Trudeau used the phrase.
“There’s no doubt he knew the words he was using. He grew up with those words, echoing and ricocheting in his home,” Stall said.
“I find it a little pretentious for a guy who’s trying to distance himself from his father to bring those words up,” he added.
“However, suppose he didn’t think it was going to become the kind of story it is.”
University of Toronto professor Nelson Wiseman said Trudeau definitely knew which words he was using but he thinks people are making too much of a big deal about this.
Though he wouldn’t be surprised if the phrase popped up again, he said.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if he uses that phrase again in a public forum, even in the run-up to the next election.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesperson Andrew MacDougall posted a note on Twitter in response to someone asking about Trudeau’s note.
“Fuddle duddle,” he wrote back.
— Andrew MacDougall (@PMO_MacDougall) March 20, 2013