1. Justin Trudeau is new Canada PM: Top 10 transformational changes in offing

Justin Trudeau is new Canada PM: Top 10 transformational changes in offing

Canada has elected a new PM in Justin Trudeau and this victory over the most conservative leader in the country's history, Stephen Harper, will reverberate beyond the country's borders.

By: | Published: October 21, 2015 1:28 PM
Justin Trudeau

People take photos of Justin Trudeau as he greets constituents at a subway station (AP)

Canada has elected a new PM in Justin Trudeau and this victory over the most conservative leader in the country’s history, Stephen Harper, will reverberate beyond the country’s borders. With a host of policies that will most probably differ dramatically from his predecessor, Justin Trudeau, 43, like his famous father Pierre, is set to change the way Canada does business, and much of everything else. Speaking at a rally in Ottawa, the 43-year-old Justin Trudeau – son of one of the country’s most dynamic politicians – underlined the sea change. “I want to say this to this country’s friends around the world: Many of you have worried that Canada has lost its compassionate and constructive voice in the world over the past 10 years. Well, I have a simple message for you on behalf of 35 million Canadians. We’re back,” he declared. Here are top 10 things to know:

1. The first major shift came Tuesday when Justin Trudeau announced he had spoken with President Barack Obama and told him he will remove Canada’s six fighter jets from the U.S.-led bombing campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. Trudeau said he discussed his commitment to withdraw Canadian fighter jets from the US-led aerial bombing mission against Islamic State group radicals in Syria and Iraq. Trudeau believes Canada’s military involvement should be restricted to training missions only.

2. Among the other areas in which Justin Trudeau differs from Conservative Stephen Harper: climate change, immigration and whether relations with the U.S. should hinge on the future of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

3. With Justin Trudeau’s decisive victory on Monday, Canadian voters reclaimed their country’s liberal identity, giving the new prime minister a commanding majority in parliament that will allow him to govern without relying on other parties.

4. “Trudeau will return Canada to its traditional approach in foreign affairs which is characteristic of every single government but Harper’s,” said Robert Bothwell, a professor at the University of Toronto. “Canada will go back to multilateralism, back to strong support for the United Nations.”

5. There will be a “new way for Canada to be on the world stage,” agreed Liberal lawmaker Marc Garneau, who won re-election Monday.

6. Trudeau’s victory will likely improve ties with the United States, at least for the remainder of Obama’s presidency. Harper was frustrated by Obama’s reluctance to approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas and clashed with the president on other issues, including the Iran nuclear deal. Although Trudeau supports the Keystone pipeline, he argues relations should not hinge on the project.

7. Justin Trudeau has vowed to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year. Harper declined to resettle more Syrian refugees despite the haunting image of a drowned 3-year-old’s body washed up on a Turkish beach after his family’s failed attempt to immigrate to Canada, and some analysts have questioned whether Trudeau’s goal is realistic.

8. Canada shifted to the center-right under Harper, who lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation, strongly supported the oil and gas extraction industry and backed the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trudeau will have a more balanced approach to the conflict in the Middle East, analysts said. “It certainly won’t be the kind of blanket support for the Netanyahu regime that we saw from the Conservatives,” Antonia Maioni, a political science professor at McGill University said.

9. Trudeau has also vowed to consult the premiers of Canada’s provinces in an effort to come up with a plan ahead of the Paris climate talks in November. Under Harper, Canada pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, the emissions reduction program for rich countries, and the Conservative leader was perceived by environmentalists as more interested in protecting Canada’s oil-rich region of Alberta – which has the third-largest oil reserves in the world – than efforts to stem the effects of climate change. “Canada’s days of being a less-than-enthusiastic actor on the climate-change file are behind us,” Trudeau told the news conference in Ottawa.

10. Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said Canadian diplomats are delighted at Trudeau’s election because Harper never let them speak without checking with the government first. “They’ve been totally marginalized. They’ve been told ‘We don’t care what you think,”’ Wiseman said. During the campaign, Trudeau re-energized the Liberal Party, which suffered its worst electoral defeat four years ago, winning just 34 seats and finishing third behind the traditionally weaker New Democrat Party.

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  1. J
    Oct 21, 2015 at 3:12 pm
    I voted for Harper's party, but only because of their economic record, which was pretty good. But as a Canadian, I am not unhappy about Trudeau's election win, as many of the Harper policies were becoming simply untenable. As your article correctly points out, the blanket support Harper gave to a lunatic like Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, was simply wrong. Netanyahu, in a recent speech has actually defended Adolf Hitler, and argued that the m murder of Jews by Germany, was advocated by the Palestinian Mufti, a local leader in what is now Israel, back during World War II. He defended Hitler, saying that the German leader only wanted to deport the Jews, but it was the Palestinians who said "Burn them." This is absolute nonsense, and is refuted by every historian and Holocaust researcher. Canada's fervent support for the murderous Netanyahu regime in Israel will, I fear, go down in our history as one of the darkest examples of poor Canadian foreign policy. It was so wrong for so many reasons. Also, our knee-jerk support of American foreign policy (ie. sanctions against Iran, for example, over it's nuclear program) have been unwise, gaining us nothing at all, and perhaps costing us much. We were being viewed around the world as simply American stooges, trotting along behind the big banging drum of the US bandwagon . This really has gained us nothing domestically, as Obama and his limp crew trashed us on the one thing we needed to get done, that Keystone pipeline. This was unacceptable. It is much better that we chart an independent course, and cut ourselves loose from the hard-core American hegemonic efforts. The Yanks talk big and tough, but they can't really be trusted, as they just seem to make it up as they go along. We really needed a new guy at the helm to get us on to a different, and much more independent course. We aren't a colony of Britain and we are not beholding to the USA either. Like it or not, the Young Liberals will take us in a new direction. If we back away from American war-fighting, understand that this is not cowardice. There is no shortage of courage here - we sent kids from the town near where I live to Afghanistan to fight and die in the deserts around Kandahar. And we may yet have to join the eventual ground war against the ISIL rape-gang that holds eastern Syria. But it needs to be part of a full-on UN mission, with a very long time horizon, not just another ill-planned American fiasco, which bombs hospitals full of the sick and wounded while the enemy quietly plants land-mines. Afghanistan is fixable, and so is Iraq, but it will take decades. No American political eny can operate longer than 1 or 2 years, before they begin their re-election cycle. Their approach to the world is a little crazy, any effort that we can make to reduce our dependence on them, and to de-couple our foreign policy from theirs, must be applauded. I wish Mr. Trudeau all the best luck possible, as I suspect he may need a fair bit of it!

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