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'Trudeaumania' heir is new Canadian prime minister

Published:Tuesday | October 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau makes his way to the stage with wife Sophie Gregoire at the Liberal party headquarters in Montreal, yesterday.
In this June 25, 1980, file photo, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (left), Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (right), and his son Justin, eight, speak outside 10 Downing Street in London.


Justin Trudeau has fulfilled the great expectations he was born into, following in the footsteps of his storied father to become Canada's next prime minister.

Now, he has the chance to restore the late Pierre Trudeau's Liberal legacy, which has been under siege during 10 years of Conservative rule under Stephen Harper.

Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party won a resounding victory in Monday's election, gaining an outright parliamentary majority.

More than 40 years ago, no less than the most powerful man on the planet predicted the younger Trudeau's destiny.

"Tonight, we'll dispense with the formalities. I'd like to toast the future prime minister of Canada: to Justin Pierre Trudeau," Richard Nixon said during a state dinner in Ottawa hosted by Pierre Trudeau in 1972.

Justin Trudeau was four months old that day, the firstborn of a dashing prime minister, who drew comparisons to John F. Kennedy after rising to power in 1968 on a wave of support dubbed 'Trudeaumania'. The architect of Canada's version of the Bill of Rights, Pierre Trudeau remains to this day one of the few Canadian politicians widely known to Americans.

Harper fought hard to reverse the image of a Liberal Canada, cutting corporate and sales taxes and removing Canada from a climate-change agreement. The younger Trudeau wants to put Canada back on the course his father set, pledging to hike taxes on the rich and run deficits for three years to boost government spending and shore up a shaky economy.




Despite his grandiose beginnings, Justin Trudeau projects a more casual persona than his glamorous father, who dated movie stars such as Barbra Streisand, married, had children and divorced while serving as prime minister between 1968 and 1984, with a brief interruption.

A 43-year-old former high school teacher, nightclub bouncer and snowboarding instructor who, until recently, sported long hair, Trudeau first captured national attention in 2000 with a moving eulogy at his father's state funeral. He challenged the country to cement Pierre Trudeau's vision of a united and multicultural Canada, moving many people to tears.