Toronto | Canadians voted for a sharp change in their government, returning a legendary name for liberals, Trudeau, to the Prime Minister’s office and resoundingly ending Conservative Stephen Harper’s near-decade in office. Justin Trudeau, the son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, became Canada’s new prime minister after his Liberal Party won a majority of Parliament’s 338 seats.
Trudeau’s Liberals had been favored to win the most seats, but few expected the final margin of victory. Trudeau, tall and trim at 43, channels the star power if not quite the political heft of his father, who swept to power in 1968 on a wave of support dubbed Trudeaumania. Pierre Trudeau, who was Prime Minister until 1984 with a short interruption, remains one of the few Canadian politicians known in America, his charisma often drawing comparisons to John F. Kennedy. Justin Trudeau, a former school teacher and member of Parliament since 2008, becomes the second youngest prime minister in Canadian history.
Trudeau has re-energized the Liberal Party since its worst electoral defeat four years ago when they won just 34 seats and finished third behind the traditionally weaker New Democrat Party. Trudeau promises to raise taxes on the rich and run deficits for three years to boost government spending. His late father, who took office in 1968 and led Canada for most of the next 16 years, is a storied name in Canadian history, responsible for the country’s version of the bill of rights.
A bachelor when he became Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau dated actresses Barbra Streisand and Kim Cattrall and married a 22-year-old while in office. Canada has shifted to the center-right under Harper, who has lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation and clashed with the Obama administration over the Keystone XL pipeline.
The people are never wrong, Harper said. The disappointment is my responsibility and mine alone. Harper said he called Trudeau to congratulate him. The Trudeau victory will ease tensions with the US. Although Trudeau supports the Keystone pipeline, he argues relations should not hinge on the project. Harper has clashed with the Obama administration over other issues, including the recently reached Iran nuclear deal.