TORONTO (AP) — Justin Trudeau was sworn in Wednesday as Canada’s prime minister, following in the footsteps of his storied father and restoring his nation’s liberal identity after almost 10 years of Conservative rule under Stephen Harper.
The 43-year-old Trudeau, a former school teacher and member of Parliament since 2008, on Wednesday became the second youngest prime minister in Canadian history.
He is the son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who swept to office in 1968 on a wave of support dubbed “Trudeaumania.” He was prime minister until 1984 with a short interruption and remains one of the few Canadian politicians known in America, his charisma often drawing comparisons to John F. Kennedy.
Trudeau mouthed “I love you” to his young family and his mother after being sworn in.
The new prime minister now has the chance to restore his father’s Liberal legacy, which has been under siege under Harper.
His election signals a generational change that will also be reflected in his Cabinet. His ministers will be announced and most of them will be between the ages of 35 and 50.
Former Liberal leader Stephane Dion, who lost an election for the party previously, is the new foreign affairs minister while Toronto businessman Bill Morneau is the new finance minister. Harjit Sajjan, a former Canadian soldier and police officer, is the new defense minister. Former journalist Chrystia Freeland is the new minister of international trade.
Women make up half of the cabinet.
The cabinet is scheduled to hold their first meeting in the afternoon and then face the media — a departure from the Harper era.
Harper stepped down as prime minister just ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.
Trudeau and his wife and his new cabinet arrived at Rideau Hall on a bus for the swearing-in ceremony. They waved to a large crowd as they walked up the grounds to the hall. One of Trudeau’s young kids jumped into his arms upon seeing his father arrive.
Trudeau’s victory should improve Canada’s ties with the United States. Harper was angered by President Barack Obama’s reluctance to approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas and it damaged relations. Although Trudeau supports the pipeline, he argues relations should not hinge on the project.
Harper, one of the longest-serving Western leaders, fought hard to reverse the image of a Liberal Canada, cutting corporate and sales taxes and removing Canada from a climate change agreement. Trudeau tapped into an appetite for change with a plan to reject austerity and spend billions on infrastructure, running deficits for three years to do so.