While Americans engaged in a political battle between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans ahead of the 2016 elections, Canadians made a clear choice by electing Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau as the country’s new prime minister. Trudeau, the heartthrob son of Canada’s most popular former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, crushed the conservative incumbent Stephen Harper at the polls.
About Justin Trudeau
Trudeau is a former school teacher who has served in Canada’s parliament since 2008.
The 43 year-old Prime Minister has a tattoo of a world surrounded by a Haida raven (the Haida people are one of Canada’s indigenous tribes) on his left arm.
He is the son of Pierre Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister from 1968 to 1979. As PM, Trudeau the elder lifted restrictions on contraceptives and decriminalized abortion and homosexuality among other controversial acts.
How Trudeau differs from his predecessor, Stephen Harper:
HARPER pulled Canada out of the Kyoto Protocol
TRUDEAUwill end fossil fuel subsidies and invest in clean technology.
HARPER passed laws that limited immigration.
TRUDEAU has vowed to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015
HARPERjoined the fight against ISIL in October 2014 committing six CF-18s, two surveillance planes and 600 personnel. Canada was accused of killing civilians in the region in January 2015.
TRUDEAU has pledged to end Canada’s involvement in the bombing of Islamic State targets in Iraq in Syria and offer more humanitarian aid in these countries (some extremists feared that this would bring an end to the anti-ISIL coalition or would be celebrated as a victory by jihadists)
HARPER was accused of Islamophobia after he opposed the wearing of niqab by Muslims at citizenship ceremonies saying the practice of women covering their faces was “rooted in a culture that was anti-women.” Harper has also been criticized for not doing enough to end violence against aboriginal women and girls.
TRUDEAU, who, like his father, is committed to multiculturalism, appointed a very diverse cabinet: half the members are women, ten are Muslim Canadians, ten are First Canadians (Canada’s native tribe) and one is Sikh.
HARPER vehemently opposed marijuana which he called “infinitely worse” than tobacco. He maintained tough drug laws.
TRUDEAU'S Liberal Party was in favor of legalizing and regulating marijuana (Mexico, U.S.’s southern neighbor, decriminalized personal use of marijuana in November 2015)
HARPER proposed austerity meaures in order to balance Canada's budget.
TRUDEAU plans to spend billions of Canadian money on infrastructure projects that would cause Canada to run a deficit for three years.