Hunky PM Trudeau breaks the Internet

Newly minted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the second- youngest prime minister in Canadian history.
Newly minted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the second- youngest prime minister in Canadian history. PHOTO: REUTERS

TORONTO • The muscled, shirtless man stands facing the camera, fists up in a boxer's pose, with a large tattoo of the Earth surrounded by a raven visible on his left shoulder.

The photograph caused social media to swoon on Tuesday over Canada's new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

The day after his stunning victory over Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the global focus was not on the Liberal leader's promise to withdraw Canada from the combat mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or his pledge to run a C$10 billion (S$10.7 billion) annual budget deficit for three years to invest in infrastructure, but on the apparently universal agreement that he was not just good-looking, but model handsome.

The photograph, one of many circulated online of a shirtless Mr Trudeau on Tuesday, was taken at a weigh-in for a 2012 charity boxing match.

The election of Mr Trudeau, 43, son of one of Canada's most famous prime ministers, Mr Pierre Trudeau, was seen as returning a touch of glamour, youth and charisma to Ottawa. He is the second-youngest prime minister in Canadian history and brings an appeal more common in movie stars than statesmen.

His father came to power in 1968 on a wave of popular support dubbed "Trudeaumania" and held office for 15 years.

"There is definitely that sense again of Trudeaumania of the 1960s and 1970s. The elder Trudeau was a rock star. He went around the country and women were swooning after him," said Dr Cecil Foster, professor of transnational studies and director of Canadian Studies at the University at Buffalo.

Mr Trudeau's mother is Margaret Trudeau whose partying with the Rolling Stones and her 1984 divorce from Pierre in Canada's first big political scandal was fodder for tabloids.

News website Mashable declared the "Internet is sweating maple syrup over Canada's Justin Trudeau" in an article that included a link to a charity strip tease by a young Trudeau, a former teacher and snowboard instructor.

"Shirtless" was the third option automatically generated by a Twitter search beginning with the words "Justin Trudeau." The media attention was not only on his looks but also on his unusual childhood.

One newspaper photo showed him at his father's side with then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. In another, he is seen playing on an airport tarmac with his brother after a visit by Britain's Queen Elizabeth.

"He's had a camera in front of his face since he was born," said long-time friend and newly elected Montreal MP Marc Miller.

The photographs of the new premier, who has three children with his wife, Ms Sophie Gregoire, a former TV and radio host, won him new fans on social media on Tuesday, but his looks have sometimes been used against him by opponents who say he is all style and no substance.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2015, with the headline 'Hunky PM Trudeau breaks the Internet breaksreaks Interneddsdsdt'. Print Edition | Subscribe