TORONTO (AP) — Justin Trudeau was sworn in Wednesday as Canada’s prime minister, following in his late father’s footsteps 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, became the second youngest prime minister in Canadian history.
He is the son of Pierre Trudeau, who served as prime minister from 1968 to 1984 with a short interruption and remains one of the few Canadian politicians known in other countries.
Justin 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, providing a generational change in the party’s leadership.
Most of Trudeau’s Cabinet members are 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.
Women make up half of the cabinet.
The cabinet is scheduled to hold its first meeting in the afternoon and then face the media — a departure from the Harper era. Harper cabinet meetings were held in secret and ministers never spoke after them.
Trudeau talks often about “sunny ways” and ran a campaign with an optimistic theme.
His youthful demeanor and enthusiasm also provides a sharp contrast with the sober and dour Harper, who 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 children jumped into his arms upon seeing his father arrive.
A large crowd of onlookers witnessed the proceedings, gathering outside to watch on a pair of big-screen TVs.
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, by contrast, 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.