It’s official: Canada has a new prime minister.
Canadians went to the polls on Monday to decide who would be their next leader, and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau came out a clear winner.
By late Monday evening, it looked as though Trudeau’s Liberals would form a majority government.
As the numbers rolled in, incumbent Stephen Harper resigned as leader of the Conservative Party.
This is the first time in 9.5 years that Canada has had a new leader.
Harper, who had been prime minister since early 2006, had led a majority government since 2011.
Now Harper is on his way out, and Trudeau — the son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, one of the most popular leaders in Canadian history — will be the next leader of Canada.
Who is Justin Trudeau?
A school teacher by trade, Trudeau Jr. has been on the political scene for some time, although he only became leader of the Liberal party in 2013. For 5 years before that, he was a member of parliament, representing a riding, or district, in Montreal.
He has promised to stimulate the economy with tax reductions for the middle class and increased taxes for the top 1%.
Trudeau also plans to invest in infrastructure, which he’s said he will do by running a federal deficit of less than $10 billion in each of the next three fiscal years.
Trudeau is for the Keystone pipeline but against the Northern Gateway, a proposed pipeline running west from Alberta to the Pacific coast in British Columbia.
He says he will support Energy East, another proposed pipeline set to run east from Alberta through to refineries in Eastern Canada — provided there is local community support for it.
Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner.
Early on in the campaign, Harper’s Conservative Party used Trudeau’s boyish looks and relative inexperience against him, launching an attack ad that claimed, “He’s just not ready.”
(The ad also made a crack at Trudeau’s signature shaggy hairdo, although these days he’s wearing a tighter crop.)
In some ways, Trudeau made it easy for his opponents.
Changes ahead for Canada
Now, it looks as though Trudeau’s Liberal Party will not only form government, but will control a majority government.
To win the election, a party simply needs to hold the most seats in parliament. To form a majority government, the party needs 170 seats.
Both Harper and the leader of the New Democratic Party, Tom Mulcair, gave concession speeches late Monday evening, while Trudeau made a victory speech.
“Sunny ways, my friends, sunny ways,” Trudeau said. “This, my friends, is what positive politics can do.”
Meanwhile, Harper told supporters: “The disappointment you also feel is my responsibility and mine alone.”