International

Like father, like son ?

Justin Trudeau, Liberal leader, celebrating his victory with his wife, in Montreal, the 19th of october night

Justin Trudeau, Liberal leader, celebrating his victory with his wife, in Montreal, the 19th of october night

Justin Trudeau has been elected Prime minister of Canada, this night, getting 183 out of 338 seats. The liberal leader is going to lead a majority government and allows his party to come back to power after nine years of opposition.

Stephen Harper, outgoing PM, and CPC leader after the elections' outcome in Alberta,

Stephen Harper, outgoing PM, and CPC leader after the elections’ outcome in Alberta,

Trudeau is succeeding Stephen Harper who recognized his defeat and should step down as Conservative leader in the following days. The Prime minister elect will put his strategy forward by implementing an ambitious economic and social plan with lower taxes for middle class and new investment strategies.

I’m not a Trudeau’s fan but I have to recognize I have underestimated him. The liberal leader increasingly appeared as a credible and serious alternative to Stephen Harper’s policies, especially vis-à-vis Thomas Mulcair. The NDP leader was leading the polls during a moment even could have been the next Prime minister of Canada, running the first neo-democratic government of his country. But, the outgoing leader of the official opposition failed to be clear regarding the hibjab issue and Mulcair never succeed to be frontrunner again.

Thomas Mulcair, during his speech in Montreal, after the results

Thomas Mulcair, during his speech in Montreal, after the results

Trudeau is leading a majority government with a comfortable number of MPs in Ottawa, that’s a surprise, due to the fact polls institutes predicted a minority government. The new Canadian leader is aware he is expected by everyone and has to make concrete results quite quickly. In home affairs, he will have to keep his promises towards middle class and in foreign affairs, he will have to restore Canada’s influence and reputation in the world after a decade of Harper government symbolized by questioning the Kyoto Protocol and the alignment on the US foreign policy.

Trudeau also knows he will be compared to his father, that is inevitable. In fact, Justin is above all known to be a legacy, the Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s son, one of the most important and charismatic Prime minister of Canada. Some people, during a moment, reproached him to be a legacy, using the name of his father to get a legitimacy, especially when he got the Liberal leadership in 2012. Trudeau has to prove he is not (only) a legacy but a real leader able to give another direction to Canada and Canadians, able to integrate Quebec and respect the French-speaking province.

Indeed after voting neo-democrat four years ago, Quebec’s voters strategically voted for Liberal party this time, in order to get Harper out. Justin Trudeau will have to be grateful to them, in spite of his absolute majority by giving another consideration to Quebec and its population who seem to forget the time Trudeau senior finally come back the Constitution from Great-Britain to Canada, without the Quebec’s government approval in 1982. But I have just written, Quebec did not vote for Trudeau, it voted against Harper especially.

Cartoon drawn by Garnotte and published in Le Devoir, on June 2016

Cartoon drawn by Garnotte and published in Le Devoir, on June 2016

Trudeau is maybe opening a new era in Canadian politics and pursing the familial dynasty. It is up to him to show he has a vision and a strategy for his country by being himself and not seen as a legacy, in comparison with his father. He has the whole legislature to do it (the next federal elections should not take place before autumn 2019) and appear as not the guy who defeated Harper but as the guy who is a credible and charismatic leader, as his father, thirty years ago.

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