For many people, Canada’s Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau may be a novelty.
Here’s one reason: With this week’s election victory, the Liberal Party’s Trudeau came bounding into power to end the decade-long reign of Canada’s Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
But here’s another: Trudeau, at 43, is four years younger than Barack Obama was when he was first elected U.S. president in 2008. He has a Hollywood-thick head of hair, Buzz Lightyear cheekbones and a megawatt smile.
A good number of people have responded accordingly by Googling photos of Trudeau shirtless.
But Canadians have known about Trudeau since his birth. As much as he represents the new, and a repudiation of Harper’s conservative policies, Trudeau is closely tied to one of Canada’s most famous 20th century politicians: his father.
Canadian Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau speaks to supporters at a rally in Ottawa, the capital, on Oct. 20. Trudeau, the son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, defeated the Conservative incumbent, Stephen Harper.(Adrian Wyld / Canadian Press)
Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party, arrives onstage in Montreal on Oct. 20 after winning the election.(Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)
Trudeau kisses his wife, Sophie, onstage.(Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)
Trudeau leaves his first news conference, at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa, since winning the election. With Trudeau’s decisive victory the day before, Canadian voters reclaimed their country’s Liberal identity.(Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press)
Justin Trudeau greets supporters Oct. 20 at Liberal Party headquarters in Montreal.(Justin Tang / Canadian Press / Associated Press)
Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau and Justin Trudeau watch election results with son Xavier at a hotel in Montreal on Oct. 19.(Paul Chiasson / Canadian Press)
Justin Trudeau steps out of his campaign plane as Canadians began voting Oct. 19.(Paul Chiasson / Canadian Press / Associated Press)
Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau is greeted Oct. 20 by a well-wisher as he walks from Parliament to a news conference in Ottawa.(Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)
Trudeau waves to supporters during a campaign stop at a pastry shop on Oct. 14 in St. Catharines, Canada.(Paul Chiasson / Canadian Press)
Justin Trudeau in 2012.(Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star )
Justin Trudeau, center, and mother Margaret Trudeau attend the state funeral for former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, his father and her ex-husband, in Montreal on Oct. 3, 2000. Pierre Trudeau died on Sept. 28 that year at age 80.(Pierre Roussel / Getty Images)
Trudeau cries as he kneels before the casket of his father.(Paul Chisson / AFP/Getty Images)
Before the funeral, then-Cuban President Fidel Castro embraces Trudeau.(Jeff Kowalsky / AFP/Getty Images)
On June 25, 1980, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, left, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, center, and Justin Trudeau, 8, speak outside No. 10 Downing Street, in London.(Lawrence Harris / Associated Press)
Pierre Trudeau and Justin, 8, visit St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy, on June 21, 1980.(Massimo Sambucetti / Associated Press)
Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau grabs son Justin, 7, at the back door of his Ottawa mansion in May 1980 as younger brother Michael, 4, runs up with a toy gun. The trio had a lunch date with Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo.(Associated Press)
Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau holds son Justin in July 1976, at an Olympic shooting event near Montreal.(Hal Moore / Assoicated Press)
Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his wife, Margaret, in May 1977 with children Sacha, from left, Justin and Michael.(Assoicated Press)
Justin Trudeau in an undated family photo.(Toronto Public Library / Getty Images)
Pierre Trudeau and 10-month-old Justin in October 1972.(Toronto Public Library)
In the late 1960s, Canada -- not historically one of the world’s most electrifying political frontiers -- buzzed with “Trudeaumania.”
Pierre Elliott Trudeau, then Canada’s justice minister, declared in 1967 that “the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation” and pushed to liberalize laws on divorce, abortion and homosexuality.
The raffish, balding cosmopolite then became prime minister in 1968 -- inaugurating a dynamic era in Canadian politics during which he socialized with celebrities, needled his American neighbors in the White House and promised a “Just Society” built on a European-style welfare state.
He married a woman almost 30 years younger than he, Margaret Sinclair, and had three sons with her: Justin, Sacha and Michel. (Their marriage later collapsed and Trudeau took custody.)
In 1972, when Justin Trudeau was just 4 months old, then-U.S. President Nixon had a toast to Pierre Trudeau’s son during a state visit to Ottawa, Canada’s capital: “Tonight we’ll dispense with the formalities. I’d like to toast the future prime minister of Canada: to Justin Pierre Trudeau.”
During his father’s 15 years in power, Justin Trudeau spent his boyhood years at 24 Sussex Drive, the prime minister’s official residence. (The residence is officially called Gorffwysfa, but Canadians have no idea how to pronounce that.)
“It might be that no Canadian has lived a life as comprehensively chronicled as Justin Trudeau,” wrote the Toronto Star’s Jim Coyle. “From the volumes written by and about his family, it’s almost possible to chart, by the week, the activities and whereabouts of the little boy code-named ‘Maple 3' by the prime minister’s RCMP security detail.”
The Trudeaus moved to Montreal after Pierre left politics in the 1980s, where Justin Trudeau later attended McGill University, one of Canada’s most esteemed educational institutions, where he graduated in 1994.
Entrance to politics
Trudeau became a teacher in Vancouver, where he taught French and math, but eventually moved back to Montreal, where he married a Quebec TV and radio host Sophie Grégoire.
In 2000, Trudeau spurred national speculation over an entrance to politics when he delivered a stirring eulogy for his father, who died after battling prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease. (Read the Los Angeles Times’ eulogy for Pierre Trudeau.)
“He won’t be coming back anymore,” Trudeau, then 28, told the mourners. “It’s all up to us, all of us, now.”
He entered Parliament in 2008 after winning a Quebec riding -- as electoral districts are called in Canada -- for the Liberal Party, which selected him as its leader in 2013.
A sweeping upset
2015 brought a bitter campaign in Canada, with Harper’s opponents accusing him of heavy-handed rule and Islamophobia.
Trudeau’s Liberals, which won just 34 seats in the last election, won a decisive parliamentary majority and claimed 184 seats Monday night.
Trudeau, who plans to take the oath of office and appoint his ministers Nov. 4, has already promised to withdraw Canada’s participation in the bombing campaigns against Islamic State in the Middle East that had been carried out under Harper’s government.
“You can appeal to the better angels of our natures, and you can win while doing it,” Trudeau said in his victory speech. “We beat fear with hope. We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together.”