Canada’s new leader, Justin Trudeau, has been sworn in as prime minister, ending 10 years of Conservative rule in the great white north.
His ascension, his supporters hope, will mark a new era of liberal politics after an election that saw Stephen Harper’s party ousted from government. Mr Trudeau, 43, follows in the footsteps of his father who held the office at the top of Canada’s government for nearly two decades.
The potential move towards a more liberal government could well result in an increase in public spending. Along with an improved relationship with their neighbours to the south, the US, and an increase in the number of Syrian refugees being taken in.
Mr Trudeaua, a former school teacher and Member of Parliament since 2008, became the second youngest prime minister in Canadian history, was seen to be whispering “I love you” to his family upon being sworn in.
The new ministers, who are mostly aged between 35 and 50, took their oaths in the bilingual ceremony. Trudeau’s cabinet features an equal number of women and men, with the new PM touting his team’s diversity over a much more conservative white male grouping from the previous government.
After the ceremony in Ottawa, a reporter asked Mr Trudeau why having a gender-balanced cabinet was so important. The prime minister replied simply, “Because it’s 2015,” and then shrugged to wild applause. Trudeau would however go on to add, “Canadians from all across this country sent a message that it is time for real change, and I am deeply honored by the faith they have placed in my team and me.”
He was elected after running on a plan to reject austerity and spend billions on infrastructure projects that would see Canada run a deficit for three years. This plan caught the attention of the Canadian electorate as they were hungry for change after a decade under the rule of Prime Minister Harper who reduced public spending dramatically.
Mr Harper, the previous PM, had a political platform which included plans that saw corporate and sales tax rates cut as well as Canada’s removal from a climate change agreement. Issues which are staunchly conservative and desperately unpopular in the modern world.
The conservative prime minister was also angered by President Obama’s reluctance to approve the Keystone XL pipeline that was designed to transport petroleum from Alberta to Texas.
For his part, Mr Trudeau believes the pipeline should be approved, but does not think that that the disagreement should weigh so heavily on US-Canada relations.
Hopefully an improvement in relations between the United States of America and Canada will lead to less friction in the coming years especially considering the sometimes fractious relationship with President Obama over climate change and other environmental issues which the previous government could not agree with the US on.