Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was sworn in yesterday and this country has never been more jazzed.
Something amazing is happening in Canada. For the first time in my life, people are excited about politics. Yesterday for the swearing-in ceremony 3500 people crowded the grounds at Rideau Hall to participate. Four cool young dudes from Montreal got up and 4 am to drive 192 kilometers to Ottawa and be the first in line to get in to what they believe was an historic occasion—and trust me, prior to this, “cool dudes and Ottawa” was an oxymoron, though I suppose that depends on who you’re talking to.
I’ve been wondering when the youth demographic was going to come into their political power in this country. Well, they’re here, and bringing with them all the social evolution and political change that their generation expects. At this point Trudeau may hold the world’s record for taking Selfies. He plunges his face into the frame with anybody who holds up their smart phone. And he loves to wade into crowds, much to the chagrin, no doubt, of his security detail. Right after the ceremony the former teacher conducted a Google Hangouts session with grade school students from six schools.
Sexist attitudes are changing but not quite fast enough. Prior to the swearing-in ceremony there had been some discussion about whether making up a cabinet with 50% women was an exercise in quota over choosing the most talented person for the job. After the ceremony, when a reporter asked why he was doing this, Trudeau replied, “Because it’s 2015.”
Here he is with his cabinet. No more white guys doing it by themselves in our Parliament. Included in this diverse group is Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, who served on a Climate Change Committee which won a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Also Catherine McKenna as Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Also the intriguing Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions, who is 30 years old and came to Canada at age 11 as an Afghan refugee.
It’s exhilarating — there’s another oxymoron — and not just because there’s gender parity for the first time in a government cabinet. If this political transformation goes the way I think it’s going, then I say it’s about time for the young generation to lean in and claim their place in positions of power all over the world.