Justin Pierre James Trudeau PC MP born December 25, 1971 is a Canadian politician serving as the 23rd and current Prime Minister of Canada since 2015 and Leader of the Liberal Party since 2013. Trudeau is the second-youngest Canadian Prime Minister, after Joe Clark; he is also the first to be related to a previous holder of the post, as the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau.
Born in Ottawa, Trudeau attended Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf and graduated from McGill University in 1994 and the University of British Columbia in 1998. He gained a high public profile in October 2000, when he delivered a eulogy at his father’s state funeral. After graduating, he worked as a teacher in Vancouver, British Columbia. He completed one year of an engineering program at Montreal’s École Polytechnique, from 2002 to 2003, and one year of a master’s program in environmental geography at McGill University, from 2004 to 2005. He advocated for various causes, and portrayed a cousin in the 2007 TV miniseries The Great War.
In the 2008 federal election, he was elected to represent the riding of Papineau in the House of Commons. In 2009, he was appointed the Liberal Party’s critic for youth and multiculturalism, and the following year, became critic for citizenship and immigration. In 2011, he was appointed as critic for secondary education and youth and amateur sport. Trudeau won the leadership of the Liberal Party in April 2013 and went on to lead his party to victory in the 2015 federal election, moving the third-placed Liberals from 36 seats to 184 seats, the largest-ever numerical increase by a party in a Canadian general election.
On June 23, 1971, the Prime Minister’s office had announced that Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s wife of four months, the former Margaret Sinclair, was pregnant and due in December. He was born on Christmas Day 1971 at 9:27 pm EST at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. Trudeau is the second child in Canadian history to be born to a Prime Minister in office; the first was John A. Macdonald’s daughter Margaret Mary Theodora Macdonald (February 8, 1869 – January 28, 1933). Trudeau’s younger brothers Alexandre (Sacha) (born December 25, 1973) and Michel (October 2, 1975 – November 13, 1998) were the third and fourth.
Trudeau and the rest of the Cabinet were sworn in by Governor General David Johnston on November 4, 2015. He said that his first legislative priority was to lower taxes for middle-income Canadians and raise taxes for the top one per cent of income earners after parliament was reconvened on December 3, 2015. Trudeau also issued a statement promising to rebuild relations with indigenous people and run an open, ethical and transparent government. On November 5, 2015, during the first Liberal caucus meeting since forming a majority government, the party announced that it would reinstate the mandatory long-form census that had been scrapped in 2010, effective with the 2016 census.
In January 2017, Canada’s Ethics Commissioner, Mary Dawson, began an investigation into Trudeau for a vacation he and his family took to Aga Khan IV’s private island in the Bahamas. The Ethics Commissioner’s report, released in December 2017, found that Trudeau had violated four provisions of the Conflict of Interest Act.
In February 2018, Trudeau was criticized when his administration invited Khalistani nationalist Jaspal Atwal to the Canadian High Commission’s dinner party in Delhi. Atwal had previously been convicted for the shooting and attempted murder of Indian Cabinet Minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu in 1986, as well as the assault on former B.C. Premier Ujjal Dosanjh in 1985. Following the dinner, the PMO rescinded the invitation, and apologized for the incident.
Trudeau has expressed opposition towards the proposed Quebec Charter of Values, a controversial charter in that province and elsewhere that among other things prohibited public sector employees from wearing or displaying “conspicuous” religious symbols, justifying that it would make the people of Quebec “choose between their freedom of religion and freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and their economic well-being and their acceptance in the workplace. That for me is a real concern.”
Trudeau identifies as a feminist, having stated, “I am a feminist. I’m proud to be a feminist.” Trudeau has also stated that “the Liberal Party is unequivocal in its defence of women’s rights. We are the party of the Charter.” After being sworn in as Prime Minister, when asked by a reporter why he felt gender parity was important when naming his cabinet, he replied simply, “Because it’s 2015.” More recently, he has similarly answered to feminist organizations on social media that “On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am writing back to let you know that I wholeheartedly agree: Poverty is Sexist”.
In January 2018 in a speech at the World Economic Forum, Trudeau called for critical discussion on issues brought up by the Me Too, Time’s Up, and Women’s March movements. Trudeau has also advocated a high standard and holds a “zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment or other forms of misconduct by his employees or caucus colleagues.” As leader of the Liberal Party, Trudeau initiated investigations on several members of parliament resulting in the dismissal of cabinent minister Kent Hehr, the resignation of MP Darshan Kang, and the suspension and later expulsion of MPs Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti. In an interview, Trudeau explained that the zero tolerance standard applied to himself as well and stated, “I’ve been very, very careful all my life to be thoughtful, to be respectful of people’s space and people’s headspace as well.
Trudeau first met Sophie Grégoire when they were both children growing up in Montreal; Grégoire was a classmate and childhood friend of Trudeau’s youngest brother, Michel. They reconnected as adults in June 2003, when Grégoire, by then a Quebec television personality, was assigned as Trudeau’s co-host for a charity ball; they began dating several months later. Trudeau and Grégoire became engaged in October 2004, and married on May 28, 2005, in a Roman Catholic ceremony at Montreal’s Sainte-Madeleine d’Outremont Church. They have three children: Xavier James (born October 18, 2007), Ella-Grace Margaret (born February 5, 2009) and Hadrien Grégoire (born February 28, 2014).
In June 2013, two months after Trudeau became the leader of the Liberal Party, the couple sold their home in the Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood of Montreal. They began living in a rented home in Ottawa’s Rockcliffe Park, the neighbourhood near where Trudeau resided as a child during his father’s time as prime minister.
On August 18, 2014, an intruder broke into the house while Grégoire and the couple’s three children were sleeping and left a threatening note; however, nothing was stolen and there was no damage to the property. Following the incident, Trudeau, who was in Winnipeg at the time of the break-in, stated his intention to inquire with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police about his home security. After his 2015 electoral victory, Trudeau opted to live at Rideau Cottage, on the grounds of Rideau Hall, until necessary repairs are completed at 24 Sussex to make it comfortable for his family.
Trudeau has a large Earth inside a Haida raven tattoo on his left arm. The tattoo is based on a design by Robert Davidson, a Haida artist whose grandmother ceremonially adopted Pierre Trudeau as an honorary member of the Haida tribe during a 1976 trip to what was then called the Queen Charlotte Islands. Davidson was initially hopeful that the tattoo was indicative of Trudeau’s support for Indigenous protections, but after Trudeau approved a controversial natural gas export facility on Lelu Island—a project the Haida strongly opposed—Davidson claimed that Trudeau’s tattoo was an example of cultural appropriation, and showed his lack of respect for Indigenous Canadians and for the Haida customs that come with accepting a tattoo from their tribe.
Trudeau’s father was a devout Roman Catholic and his mother converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism just prior to their wedding. As a child, he attended Mass each Sunday and said his prayers each night before bedtime. He became a lapsed Catholic at age 18, as he felt that much of his day-to-day life was not addressed by the formality and structure of the church. Trudeau described his faith during this period as “like so many Catholics across this country, I said, ‘OK, I’m Catholic, I’m of faith, but I’m just not really going to go to church. Maybe on Easter, maybe midnight Mass at Christmas.'” After the death of his brother Michel in 1998, Trudeau was persuaded by a friend to participate in an Alpha course, during which he regained his faith. In 2011, Trudeau stated, “My own personal faith is an extremely important part of who I am and the values that I try to lead with.”