After stumble, Canada's Trudeau glides through first world trip

Fri Nov 20, 2015 1:12pm EST
 
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By David Ljunggren

MANILA (Reuters) - New Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau started his first international trip with a stumble before recovering to impress world leaders keen to bask in the success of his big election win last month.

The 43-year-old with film-star looks was the center of attention at a Group of 20 summit in Turkey and a meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders in Manila, where he survived a mobbing by enthusiastic onlookers.

While he was in Turkey, Trudeau was criticized in Canada for what was considered a muted response to the deadly Paris attacks and for posing for selfies requested by businessmen at the summit.

Indeed, Trudeau cannot survive on smiles and pleasant words alone, warns Fen Hampson of the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ontario.

"His likeability ratings are off the charts and he is getting good reviews from foreign leaders, but it will only take him so far unless Canada is also seen to be willing to do some of the heavy lifting," he said.

For example, U.S. President Barack Obama wants Trudeau to commit long-term to the U.S.-led military mission against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, while NATO members are unhappy Ottawa is not spending enough money on defense.

Trudeau's center-left Liberals won power last month, promising Canada would play a bigger global role than it had done under the inward-looking Conservatives of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Obama had little in common with the right-leaning Harper and was clearly delighted to talk to Trudeau on Thursday in Manila.   Continued...

 
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gestures as he speaks during a news conference after attending the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila November 19, 2015.  REUTERS/Erik De Castro