The photo was taken at the very end, during the last 30 seconds of our meeting in Room 215 of the Hotel Atlantic in Hamburg. And the taking of this photo also says something about Justin Trudeau.
He walks to the window, behind which Hamburg’s Alster Lake is twinkling. He looks into the camera and sinks his chin. And smiles — and holds his smile. He tenses his biceps — his sleeves were already rolled up when he walked into the room — and leans forward slightly. He’s ready.
He is a professional, through and through, and knows that stage management is part of being a politician. And he certainly knows how he looks and the effect he has on other people.
Justin Trudeau, 45, has been Canadian prime minister for 18 months, and he is the polar opposite of U.S. President Donald Trump. Inviting. Unafraid. Funny. Liberal. He is an advocate of climate protection and migration; when Trump announced his intention to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico,
Trudeau said that Canada welcomes the world with open arms. He is in favor of free trade and is pursuing the difficult reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous population. When he presented his cabinet that was half men and half women, he was asked why – and responded with the now-famous sentence: “Because it’s 2015.”
Trudeau is the oldest son of Pierre Trudeau, who was prime minister of Canada from 1968 to 1979 and again from 1980 to 1984. Little Justin grew up playing in the government quarter of Ottawa, and perhaps that explains why the grown-up Trudeau of today is so sure of himself, and never nervous.
His presence is reminiscent of Barack Obama, but Trudeau takes more risks: He makes jokes about himself, wears colorful socks and in the campaign, he participated in a boxing match against a rival, which could have resulted in a black eye or even a knock-out.
After finishing his studies (education and literature), he taught French and social studies in addition to theater. And he taught snowboarding at Whistler, the ski resort outside of Vancouver.
He rose to prominence in part due to the eulogy he delivered for his father 17 years ago: His speech was both so controlled and so moving that his political career began soon afterwards, entering parliament in 2008 and taking over leadership of the Liberal Party in 2013.
Trudeau arrived at the G-20 summit in Hamburg at 2 p.m. on Thursday from Edinburgh. From the Fuhlsbüttel airport, he was driven through an oddly quiet, almost empty city, to the Hotel Atlantic — a place that became the center of the world for a few hours on Thursday. Donald Trump was also on his way to the hotel, as was Angela Merkel, and the two would meet here.
Trudeau enters the room. He doesn’t eat or drink anything. Just a radiant “Hello.” And the interview begins.
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