New Canada PM sworn in

Trudeau signals big departure from predecessor's policies

New Canada PM sworn in

World Bulletin / News Desk

Justin Trudeau was sworn in as Canada’s 23rd prime minister Wednesday and his Liberal government promises to be very different from that of the defeated Stephen Harper and his Conservatives.

During an historic 78-day election campaign, Trudeau, 43, said he would, among other things, appoint more women to his Cabinet, end Canada’s participation in U.S.-led coalition airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, and increase the number of Syrian refugees taken into Canada.

True to his word, the new prime minister appointed a record 15 women to his 31-member Cabinet.

Some key appointments include Ralph Goodale to head Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Goodale was finance minister from 2003-2008 and leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party from 1981-88.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion was a Member of Parliament since 1996 and former leader of the Official Opposition (Liberal) from 2006-08.

Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Minister John McCallum was the Liberal Finance Critic from 2006 to the present.

Carolyn Bennett will head Indigenous and Northern Affairs. She previously held no Cabinet post but will likely be the person who sets up a public inquiry, promised by Trudeau, to look into the death and disappearance of 1,200 aboriginal women in the past 30 years.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau was elected to Parliament for the first time. He was the head of human resources for a Canadian company and an advisor to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on the Ontario Pension Plan.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, a First Nations leader and former Crown prosecutor will now lead Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

Another newcomer, Harjit Sajjan, who won election in October, will head national defense. He is a decorated Lt. Col. in the Canadian Armed Forces and was a detective with the Vancouver police.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna is another rookie who won election in October. McKenna was a legal advisor and negotiator for the UN peacekeeping mission in East Timor and is expected to pay a lead role in climate talks in Paris next month.

The new prime minister made some key promises during the election campaign, including the increase of the number of Syrian refugees taken in by Canada, to 25,000 by January 2016. That’s 10,000 more than promised by Stephen Harper and his Conservatives.

The Harper government severed diplomatic ties with Iran in 2012. Trudeau said he wants to re-establish relations. There is a large contingent of former Iranians in Canada as thousands immigrated following the Iranian revolution of 1979. The number now stands at around 160,000.

Climate change is an important issue with voters, and Trudeau promised to do more than the outgoing Conservatives. He said he would establish goals for lower carbon emissions and not only will he attend the Paris summit, but he will take along a delegation including Elizabeth May, head of the environmental Green Party of Canada and that party’s lone Member of Parliament.

Trudeau promised a public inquiry in the missing aboriginal women, a notion that was anathema to Harper.

A controversial issue was the promise to legalize marijuana. Details are sketchy but Trudeau did say he would act quickly on the change because the current policy was making criminals of those who were caught with only small quantities of the drug.

Canada and the United States are each other’s biggest trading partners and everyday, thousands of trucks and cars pass between the two countries separated by the longest undefended border in the world. Trudeau said he wants to establish better relations with the U.S. and President Barack Obama.

That relationship was somewhat strained under Harper because of his unbending support of the Keystone XL pipeline, while Obama has voiced concerns about the project that would see oil flow to Texas refineries along he Gulf coast from Alberta.

Last Mod: 05 Kasım 2015, 09:33
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