Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau has been sworn in as Canada's newest Prime Minister. He has also appointed an equal number of men and women to Cabinet positions, a first for Canada.
Canada's 23rd Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was sworn in on Wednesday in front of a cheering crowd at a ceremony which marked many firsts for Canada.
After taking the oath, Trudeau smiled and mouthed "Thank you" to those gathered in the ballroom of Rideau Hall in Ottawa. For the first time, members of the general public were invited to see the swearing-in ceremony in person, while many more watched the event on two large screens outside the mansion.
Leading up to the ceremony, the new Prime Minister did not arrive in a limousine, but rather in a bus with his new Cabinet members. He and his inner circle then walked to the governor general's mansion.
In another Canadian first, Trudeau announced on Wednesday that his lean Cabinet is comprised of equal numbers of men and women. Former leader of the Liberal party Stephane Dion will be the foreign affairs minister while businessman Bill Morneau will take up the role of finance minister. A former soldier and police officer, Harjit Saijan, will be the new defense minister and Chrystia Freeland, a former journalist, will be the minister of international trade.
The new Cabinet is scheduled to hold its first meeting on Wednesday afternoon and then meet with the media, in stark contrast to the meetings held under previous Prime Minister Stephan Harper. In the Harper-era, Cabinet meetings were held in secret and ministers did not speak with the press afterwards.
'Time for real change'
Trudeau, the son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau,beat out Conservative Harper
after almost 10 years in office. The Liberal leader's optimistic campaign and his youthful enthusiasm were said to have strongly set him apart in the race.
The major points of Trudeau's new economic plan seek to undo many of the Conservative policies and initiatives run under Harper. He plans on running three years of budget deficits, spending more in infrastructureto boost Canada's lagging economy,
as well as raising income taxes on Canada's richest while cutting taxes for those in the middle class.
"Canadians from all across this country sent a message that it is time for real change, and I am deeply honored by the faith they have placed in my team and me," said Trudeau in a statement.
rs/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters)