Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau  

Born in 1971, Justin Trudeau entered into the political spotlight right away, as the son of Pierre Trudeau, who was the Canadian Prime Minister from 1968-79 and 1980-84. Despite his family’s political prominence, Justin Trudeau spent his early career in education, away from the political arena.  In 2006, however, Trudeau joined the Liberal Party’s task force on youth renewal.  He furthered his political career in 2008 by winning the Parliamentary seat of the Papineau district, a racially and economically diverse district Trudeau used to prove his ability to win uphill campaigns.  In 2013 Trudeau became head of the Liberal Party. Two years later he ran a campaign for Prime Minister on a platform advocating increased abortion rights, the legalization of marijuana, and environmental protection.  Trudeau and the Liberal Party won in a landslide in the 2015 election, capturing 48 new Parliamentary seats and making Trudeau the second youngest Prime Minister in Canadian history.  

Once in office, Trudeau continued his liberal tradition domestically.  He announced that his administration would run a fiscal deficit for three years to increase spending on infrastructure projects.  Trudeau assured his electorate that the projects would boost the economy.  After reports of a series of suicides of indigenous Canadian youths Trudeau pledged to improve the living conditions of indigenous people in Canada.  Trudeau also announced a five year ban on drilling licensing in Canada’s Arctic waters in 2016; however, he attracted criticism for his decision to implement the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline.  Internationally, Trudeau has recommitted Canada to the United Nations, reflecting his faith in multilateral diplomacy. Trudeau also developed a warm friendship with former President Barack Obama, a sharp contrast from the chillier relationship between former President Obama and Trudeau’s predecessor, Stephen Harper. Trudeau has had a markedly less friendly relationship with President Donald Trump.  In response to Trump’s refusal to welcome refugees, Trudeau announced they would be welcome in Canada. He also warned Trump that Canada would retaliate on any increased tariffs that violated the NAFTA agreement.

As the recent host of the 2018 G7 Summit, Trudeau created an agenda based on the goal of sustainable economic growth that benefits everyone. As the G20 is an international forum focused mainly on financial stability, the economic growth goal of the G7 under Trudeau’s G7 presidency will likely translate to his goals for the G20 Summit. With the recent conflict between Trudeau and Trump regarding the U.S. tariffs, trade will be a key part of the G20 agenda and specifically that of Trudeau, as Trump’s tariffs negatively affect the Canadian economy. Trudeau has called Trump’s tariffs “totally unacceptable” and a “turning point” in the relationship between Canada and the U.S.

“Americans remain our partners, friends, and allies. This is not about the American people. We have to believe that at some point their common sense will prevail. But we see no sign of that in this action today by the US administration.”

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