THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette Liberal Party of Canada leadership candidate Justin Trudeau speaks during a question and answer session at the Empire Club of Canada in Toronto last week.

When the battle for the federal Liberal leadership kicks off in two weeks, front-runner Justin Trudeau will have many people in his corner, including the mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality.

While critics of Trudeau say his wavy hair and Hollywood good-looks have gotten him more support than his politics, Mayor Mike Savage said the Quebec MP has what it takes to lead the federal party and follow in the footsteps of his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

“Do I think he could be prime minister? Of course he can,” Savage said.

“I think a lot of people sort of write him off and say, ‘He looks good, but is he smart?’ and I’ll tell you, you don’t have to be ugly to be smart.”

Savage said he’s known Trudeau since his days in Ottawa as a Liberal MP for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, when they were co-critics on human resources together.

“He’s got a quality that very few people have seen in a long time, and when that comes along it’s special and it’s going to be very exciting to watch him over the next couple years,” Savage said.

The mayor said Trudeau’s magnetism, empathy and ability to figure out difficult situations make him a great candidate to lead the Liberals, and perhaps the country.

“A year ago people were saying he was going to get the crap pounded out of him in a boxing match and he came out and he won,” said Savage on the charity event pairing Trudeau with Conservative Sen. Patrick Brazeau last March.

“Anytime you count the guy out, you learn not to do it.”

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