DUBLIN, Ireland — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau woke up Tuesday to find himself and his family on the front pages of Ireland’s leading newspapers.
Inside one paper, a female columnist gushed, “the Canadian prime minister appears to be, well, the perfect man.”
If Trudeau’s European charm offensive goes as well for the rest of the week as it has started in the Irish capital, it will be a good week indeed.
Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and son Hadrien arrived late Monday night here. A photograph of the trio exiting the RCAF CC-150 Polaris made the front page of both the best-selling Irish Independent as well as the more button-downed Irish Times.
Jane Last, the Independent’s head of news, told her readers that Trudeau boxes, does yoga and has a tattoo.
On this Irish leg of Trudeau’s three-city, six-day European tour, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Liberal MPs Seamus O’Regan, David McGuinty, and James Maloney will be standing next to Trudeau.
Not to be outdone The Irish Times ran with an online feature: “Justin Trudeau and nine other hot politicians.” The feature — presented with tongue firmly in cheek — wondered if Trudeau is not the most “lusted-after modern leader.”
A more straight-ahead news item in The Irish Times noted that Trudeau’s major task during his visit here will be to help Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar sell ratification by the Irish parliament of the Canada-European free trade deal. All 27 legislatures in Europe must ratify the deal. Trudeau, like his predecessor Stephen Harper, believes the deal is a good one for Canada and will lead to new economic opportunities.
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Many Irish trade unions, civil society groups and some members of the Irish parliament — like many of their Canadian counterparts — oppose the trade deal.
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association, for example, has called the deal “a sell-out” and says opening up the Irish market to Canadian beef will hurt Irish beef producers. Association president Patrick Kent told the Irish Times that Canadian beef was of a “lower standard” and “higher priced.”
Trudeau departs for Edinburgh, Scotland on Wednesday morning where he’ll have an audience with the Queen. The week ends with Trudeau’s participation in the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.