VANCOUVER — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn’t lost his edge despite being in the halls of power. In fact, he spent last weekend snowboarding in Whistler, B.C. – somewhere he spent his youth as a snowboard instructor.
The only problem: his security detail doesn’t have quite the same skills on the slopes.
Global News has learned a call went out to find RCMP members who can ski at a triple black diamond level to keep up with the boss’s thrill-seeking skills.
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At a conference in Vancouver, Global News asked the prime minister if he was putting his security in jeopardy or was he just too good a snowboarder — a question that drew a laugh from Trudeau and the crowd.
“I have many times and will continue to praise the RCMP for the extraordinary work they do,” Trudeau said. “They’re just as good on the slopes as anywhere in the world.”
Doug Kirkland, a former member of the Ottawa Police Service, spent decades working with the Mounties on VIP events involving dignitaries and former prime ministers.
“We’re seeing somebody different,” Kirkland says.
But, Trudeau isn’t the first prime minister to be a headache to those trying to protect Canadian leaders.
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There was Jean Chretien, who always proved he was fit and full of energy, such as when he climbed the Great Wall of China and hopped on a bike in Shanghai.
And, who can forget the “Shawinigan handshake”, when he proved he was a true Grit by throttling a protester.
Trudeau’s father, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, had the same free spirit as his son.
Papa Pierre kept his security on their toes – especially on his canoe trips.
“He broke the bonds. He was doing that before any other leader of the Western world,” says Kirkland.
And now that there’s a prime minister with an even different style, his security may now have to come with different skills. Perhaps the new criteria are the ability to shred some gnar.