Charismatic Canadian PM mobbed by selfie seekers on world debut

Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:53am EST
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By David Ljunggren

BELEK, Turkey (Reuters) - Justin Trudeau, Canada's charismatic new prime minister, made his international debut on Sunday and was greeted by business executives seeking selfie pictures and an appointment book full of meeting requests from the world's most powerful politicians.

Canadian leaders rarely cause a stir at international gatherings but there was no chance the energetic 43-year-old Trudeau would remain unnoticed at a Group of 20 summit in Turkey.

His Liberals won a big election victory last month by promising "sunny ways" and an era of respect after a decade of rule by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who rarely smiled and relished attacking his domestic opponents.

Trudeau turned up a meeting of business and labor leaders on Sunday morning and stood patiently for several minutes as dozens of people shook his hand and posed for selfies. His mere presence in public generates similar scenes in Canada.

The warm welcome rather overshadowed a short speech he then gave, urging his audience to work together to tackle the world's challenges.

Canadian officials say world leaders are lining up to shake Trudeau's hand, with more than two dozen logging requests for meetings during the three-day summit.

Harper usually looked dour during photo opportunities but Trudeau - the first Canadian politician to rack up a million Twitter followers - chatted animatedly to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Sunday as cameras clicked.

One senior G20 diplomat said Trudeau was portraying politics as a positive force at a time of public cynicism about politicians - an approach which intrigued his international peers.   Continued...

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau poses before he spars at the Paul Brown Boxfit boxing gym in Toronto, August 6, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch