US & Canada

Justin Trudeau, Canada Liberal leader, in first test

Justin Trudeau and family (14 April)
Image caption Mr Trudeau was elected on Sunday with 80% of the vote after an eight-month campaign

Newly elected Canadian Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau is set to face Canada's Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper in question period.

Mr Trudeau, son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, was elected Liberal Party leader on Saturday.

His victory significantly boosts the party's prospects ahead of the next election in 2015, analysts say.

The Liberals hold only 35 seats in the Canadian Commons, having lost second place to the New Democrats in 2011.

Following his election on the first ballot on Sunday with about 80% of the vote, Mr Trudeau signalled he hoped to heal internal party divisions remaining after the party's bitter losses in the 2011 election under then-leader Michael Ignatieff.

"I don't care if you thought my father was great or arrogant," Mr Trudeau said on Sunday.

"It doesn't matter to me if you were a Chr├ętien-Liberal, a Turner-Liberal, a Martin-Liberal or any other kind of Liberal. The era of hyphenated Liberals ends right here, tonight."

The Conservatives wasted little time pointing out what they perceived as his weaknesses.

"Justin Trudeau may have a famous last name, but in a time of global economic uncertainty, he doesn't have the judgement or experience to be prime minister," the party said in a written statement.

In the Liberal Party leadership election, which followed an seven-month campaign, Mr Trudeau bested MP Joyce Murray, Toronto-area MP Martha Hall Findlay, former cabinet minister Martin Cauchon, Toronto lawyer Deborah Coyne, and retired military officer Karen McCrimmon.

Mr Trudeau, 41, represents a constituency in Montreal. His father Pierre Trudeau, who died in 2000, led the Liberal Party from 1968 to 1984 and was prime minister for all of that time except during a short-lived Conservative government in 1979-80.

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