The current and 23rd Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Pierre James Trudeau, is youthful, open and transparent. With Forbes ranking him as the 69th most powerful person in the world, Trudeau is making headlines and is only just beginning to spread his influence. What traits have launched Trudeau into the limelight and into a position of power?
This well-educated man with a political pedigree spent much of his youth working in multicultural programs and youth engagement. After earning a degree in English literature from McGill University in 1994, Trudeau headed west to Vancouver, British Columbia where he studied education, engineering and environmental geography and worked as a teacher. In this milieu, Trudeau honed his communicative talents, learned the importance of building relationships and developed a deep respect for innovation and its potential. He entered the political arena following the death of his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
What makes Trudeau’s leadership extraordinary is its openness and transparency. He had a choice, as most leaders do, to stick with the known and the acceptable. However, he is harnessing his youth and embodying the change that is already surging within the younger generations. Rather than enforcing the status quo, he embraces his generation’s values and allows them to buoy his policies and practices into national acceptance.
The breadth of his knowledge also brings credibility to many of his policies. An environmental geographer and engineer, he has a great understanding of the environment’s significance and the role it plays in Canada’s future. At the Paris conference on climate change, he promised to double clean energy research. As a member of the Three Amigos, a joint partnership with the United States and Mexico to establish a carbon exchange and reduce carbon emissions in North America, his relationship building strength emerges, placing both him and Canada as strong players on the international stage.
Trudeau doesn’t forget to encourage climate change prevention at home as well. Under his leadership and example, Canada is making gains in harnessing all of its renewable energy sources, including renewable natural gas, wind, water and solar power. Because of this, Canada is a huge leader in clean energy production. According to Amigo Energy, 18.9 percent of Canada’s power supply is currently generated from renewable energy sources. With Trudeau in office, Ontario has already moved to implement an innovative (though controversial) Climate Change Action Plan, moving them closer to joining North America’s largest carbon-trading market.
As individuals within the science community are quick to point out, reducing emissions and stabilizing global temperatures requires readjusting the relationship everyone has with energy. Trudeau’s policies encourage everyday people to choose environmentally sustainable solutions, such as renewable energy to heat their homes, electric cars to drive to work and access to recycling programs. By strategizing solutions based on people’s needs and employing policies that facilitate transition into newer and greener lifecycles, Trudeau displays a ground-up and not a top-down leadership style. This lack of authoritarianism is inclusive. He isn’t alone as group leader; he is an equal member of the team.
However, he doesn’t forget that he is a team member with great influence. An effective leader works from the ground up with an eye toward establishing relationships with other leaders so that he or she can build everyone up. Big names don’t have the opportunity to cooperate with millions of regular people, but elected officials do. Leaders like Trudeau facilitate innovation when they work to make innovative technology available and accessible to communities. Trudeau’s effective communication and relationship building strengths, along with his openness and transparency, are hallmarks of his leadership success.