Cape Breton man key player in Trudeau victory
Published Wednesday, October 21, 2015 6:41PM ADT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 21, 2015 7:24PM ADT
When Rita Butts found out Justin Trudeau would be Canada's next prime minister she was ecstatic. That's because her son Gerry is Trudeau's senior advisor.
“I'm very happy for him and for Justin. So I hope the two of them have made a good match,” says Rita Butts.
Gerry Butts grew up in Glace Bay, where his father was a life-long coal miner.
When he graduated high school, Butts left Cape Breton for Montreal and McGill University, which is where he met the future prime minister.
Butts later left his post as president and CEO of the Wildlife Fund Canada to help his old friend run his campaign.
“I got into this with Mr. Trudeau because I believe in his vision for the country and thought it was badly needed,” says Gerry Butts on election night.
Butts has been Trudeau’s right-hand man throughout all of the big moments in his political career.
“They wouldn't let each other go,” says Rita Butts. “Whether it was Gerald helping Trudeau or Trudeau helping Gerald, both have worked together to get the intelligence they had to produce to the public.”
Butts has quietly become one of the most respected people in Canadian politics. His mother says she never interfered with the path her son chose.
“I never doubted him for a minute,” says Rita Butts. “I always tried to be of some help by causing a nice argument over things and saying well that's your opinion, this is mine see what you can do with it.”
Nova Scotia’s Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan is also a Glace Bay native. He says it is clear Butts remembers where he came from.
“Every time I hear Gerry Butts speak he talks about Cape Breton and this province,” says MacLellan. “I know when the policy formation and decision is made, he naturally goes to the place he calls home.”
Rita Butts says, despite her son's important role, he'll always remember where he grew up and the people who raised him.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore