The United States is flirting with dynastic politics in choosing between another Bush and another Clinton. Now Canada has gone ahead and chosen the son of Pierre Trudeau, prime minister in the 1970s and 1980s, to be their new prime minister. Justin Trudeau and his liberal party defeated incumbent Stephen Harper and his conservatives.
You Canadian readers, please tell us what this means. How much further to the left will this take Canada? What were the issues and what new policies do you expect from Trudeau II?
Justin Trudeau, the dashing eldest son of political legend Pierre Trudeau, has ushered in Canada’s first political dynasty with a stunning come-from-behind victory. But the new prime minister’s win may owe as much to voters’ fatigue with the outgoing government as to the legacy of his father.
The younger Trudeau defeated Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Monday’s elections, ending a nine-year reign that had shifted Canada politically to the right.
The victory comes just weeks after Trudeau’s Liberal Party was running third in the polls, behind Harper’s Conservatives and Thomas Mulcair’s center-left New Democratic Party.Both Mulcair and Harper had taunted the athletic Trudeau, 43, in campaign ads that referred to him as “Justin” and made fun of his “nice hair.” Critics said he was too young and inexperienced to become prime minister.
But Trudeau ran a tireless 78-day campaign based on change and optimism at a time when many frustrated voters wanted “anyone but Harper.” Trudeau, a former schoolteacher, ran on a centrist platform, to the left of the Conservatives but to the right of the NDP. He also benefited from many Canadians’ fond memories of his father, a public intellectual who was prime minister from 1968 to 1979 and from 1980 to 1984.
“The reason he got the job of leadership is the same reason Hillary [Clinton] and Jeb Bush can run — name recognition,” said Nelson Wiseman, director of the Canadian Studies Program at the University of Toronto. “He is personable. He is a family man. He has three kids. That is appealing. But he doesn’t have much gravitas. He is an intellectual lightweight compared with his father.”