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October 26, 2015

Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party End Decade-Long Conservative Run In Canada

On Monday, Justin Trudeau ousted Prime Minister Stephen Harper and ended nearly a decade of Conservative Party power in the Canadian Parliament. Trudeau’s Liberal Party won contests in 184 of the 338 electoral districts while Harper’s Conservative Party took just 99. The New Democratic Party and other parties hold an additional 54 seats. 

Trudeau’s win represents a major shift in economic and environmental policy and Canadian labor unions praised the Liberal Party’s win. Trudeau is generally considered to be pro-free trade, but refused to take a position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the election. (He said he will comment once the text of the deal is released.) Harper’s government negotiated the deal. Despite Trudeau’s silence, experts told Politico’s “Morning Trade” they expect the new prime minister to ultimately support the TPP. Adam Taylor, a former adviser to Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast, told Politico, “I think his government will be pro-TPP … I actually believe the Harper trade agenda will be in good hands with the Trudeau Liberals … because they've traditionally been a pro-trade party.” 

Trudeau said he would take a vastly different course than the Harper government on energy and environmental issues. For example, although Trudeau has said he supports construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, he will not lobby for it. Prime Minister Harper had been one of the pipeline’s biggest champions and repeatedly had pushed the Obama administration to approve it. (Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Trudeau’s election would not affect the Obama administration’s decision on the Keystone pipeline.) Trudeau also said he supports a global climate change agreement and will work with President Barack Obama’s administration on the environment. (Some analysts have argued Trudeau’s climate change plans have been too vague.) 

On fiscal issues, The Atlantic noted Trudeau pledged to raise taxes on wealthier Canadians and lower them for middle income Canadians and “committed himself to a policy of deliberate deficits in an attempt to stimulate growth.” Specifically, according to Global Risk Insights, Trudeau’s Liberal Party pledged to reduce the tax rate from 22 percent to 20.5 percent for Canadians earning between $44,700 to $89,401 and to increase the top rate to 33 percent for Canadians earning more than $200,000. Trudeau also pledged to make significant investments in infrastructure. 

Trudeau, the son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, is just 43 years old and will be the second-youngest Prime Minister in Canadian history. He has been a member of the Parliament since 2008 and the leader of the nation’s Liberal Party since 2013. Trudeau said he would begin naming members of his cabinet in early November.