US & Canada

Canada profile - Leaders

Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a governor general

The leader of Canada's Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau, speaks at a news conference in Calgary, Alberta, October on 18 2015. Image copyright Reuters

Prime minister: Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau - son of Pierre Trudeau, who dominated Canadian politics in the 1970s - won a resounding election victory for his Liberal Party in October 2015, ending the nine years of Conservative government under Stephen Harper.

After a closely fought three-way contest with the Conservatives and centre-left New Democrats, the Liberals leapt from the humiliating third place they won at the 2011 election to gain a surprise overall majority in parliament.

Campaigning on a theme of change and his "new vision" for Canada, the youthful Mr Trudeau successfully fought off accusations of inexperience from the Conservatives to effect a late surge in the opinion polls as the New Democrat vote slumped.

Mr Trudeau campaigned on promises to shift some of the tax burden from middle-income earners to the richest Canadians, and run a budget deficit to allow spending on infrastructure and boosting growth.

Born in 1971, Mr Trudeau has already lived in the prime minister's office as the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau, prime minister in 1968-79 and in 1980-84.

He achieved political prominence with a moving eulogy at his father's funeral in 2000.

Elected on an initial wave of popularity dubbed "Trudeaumania", the charismatic elder Trudeau brought Canada to prominence on the world stage, but still polarises opinion among Canadians.

Harper legacy

The Harper government Mr Trudeau replaces had been praised for deft economic management, but alienated many Canadians with Mr Harper's aloof, polarising style.

His hostility to climate change legislation and support for the oil and gas industry also proved divisive, both at home and abroad.

Mr Harper came to power in 2006 after 12 years' of Liberal government, relying on opposition support as a minority government in his first two terms.

He won a third term and an overall majority in March 2011, in an election called after an opposition no-confidence motion found the government to be in contempt of parliament over budget plans.

More on this story