- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Justin Trudeau, son of an influential former premier, was sworn in as Canada’s 23rd prime minister Wednesday morning, just weeks after his center-left Liberal Party swept to power by ending a nearly decadelong government led by Conservative Stephen Harper.

Standing under a commanding portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, the 43-year-old former schoolteacher struggled to hold back his emotions as he swore allegiance, to Canada and the Queen, both in English and French. Mr. Trudeau turned to face supporters and nodded his head to the cheers before signing the oath books.

The pounding of drums by an aboriginal drummer accompanied Mr. Trudeau, his wife, Sophie, and members of the new Liberal government Cabinet at the start of the ceremony, as they greeted audience members with handshakes and kisses.

Mr. Trudeau’s newly appointed Cabinet, which for the first time in Canadian history will be split equally between male and female ministers. Each was sworn in individually before posing for a picture with the new prime minister.

Emphasizing the changing of the guard that came with Mr. Trudeau’s come-from-behind win, 18 of the Cabinet members are first-term members of Parliament, and just six have experience as Cabinet ministers.

One theme that Mr. Trudeau struck Wednesday was that his Cabinet would have a much larger say in the day-to-day running of the government, in contrast to what critics said was a far more centralized system under Mr. Harper.

Mr. Trudeau is the eldest son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who dominated the country’s political scene in the 1970s and early 1980s. Justin Trudeau is the second-youngest prime minister in the country’s history.

Crowds — waiting outside for hours while the ceremony ran behind schedule — erupted in cheers when Mr. Trudeau appeared outside of Rideau Hall, the official residence in Ottawa of Canada’s governor-general, and strode toward the podium to make his first address as prime minister.

“We are going to keep the promises we made to Canadians to offer them the kind of Canada we know they deserve,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters and the eager crowds.

“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. Canadians chose a positive and optimistic plan for the future, and we will immediately begin implementing our plan for a strong middle class,” he said.

Among the changes Mr. Trudeau has promised are the resettling of 25,000 Syrian refugees and plans to help fund students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees. Mr. Trudeau has promised that students will not need to repay loans until they reach a minimum salary level.

“We will work tirelessly to honor the trust Canadians have given us, and together build an even better future for our children and grandchildren,” he said.

Asked by a reporter whether Mr. Trudeau had thoughts of his father, who died from prostate cancer in 2000, he said he was thinking more of his children.

“I am forward-looking,” he said.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide