Born on Dec. 25, 1971, to then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau and his wife, Margaret, Justin Trudeau is the oldest of their three children. Mr. Trudeau worked as a teacher in Vancouver for several years before running for elected office in 2008. In 2005, he married Sophie Grégoire, together they have three children.
After winning the party leadership in 2013, Justin Trudeau revived a once-mighty Liberal Party that was on the verge of extinction. Having won just 34 seats in the 2011 campaign under former leader Michael Ignatieff, Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals made dramatic gains in 2015, winning 184 seats and a majority government.
The honeymoon didn’t last. The 2019 and 2021 campaigns saw voters return Mr. Trudeau to power, but only with enough seats to form back-to-back minority governments. In office, Mr. Trudeau delivered on 2015 pledges to boost the Canada Child Benefit and legalize marijuana, but broke promises to change Canada’s voting system and balance the budget.
Most of the Trudeau government’s focus to date has been driven by outside events. The 2016 election of Donald Trump as U.S. President created a constant source of uncertainty, particularly through a tense renegotiation of the key North American trade agreement in which Canada emerged unscathed. Since early 2020, COVID-19 has dominated the federal agenda. Mr. Trudeau’s frequent outdoor news conferences provided important updates during the pandemic’s early months, including details on expansive emergency support programs for workers and businesses. The Auditor-General reported in late 2022 that the programs helped avoid spikes in poverty, but that the funds were poorly tracked.
Throughout his time as Prime Minister, Mr. Trudeau has frequently been on the defensive over ethics issues. He has twice been found in contravention of ethics laws: First in relation to a vacation in the Bahamas on the Aga Khan’s private island, and then regarding his efforts to influence then-justice minister and attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould’s decision on whether to grant engineering company SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement.
More recently, his government has faced questions over how it responded to concerns related to election interference. The Globe and Mail reported in February, based on Canadian Security Intelligence Service documents, that China employed a sophisticated strategy to disrupt Canada’s democracy in the 2021 election campaign. The documents also explained how Beijing tried to interfere in the 2019 Canadian election.
As the worst of the pandemic fades, dealing with high inflation and tackling climate change are priorities for Mr. Trudeau and his government.