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As Canadians were just getting back into the post-holiday groove, the nation was shaken Monday when Adam Scotti (the Prime Minister’s official photographer) shared a moody photo of what appears to be the leader of the nation with a salt-and-pepper beard. Yes, apparently Justin Trudeau is trying out a new look for the new decade and no one is sure how to feel about it.

Is he trying to convey his seasoned maturity at the job? Did he simply forget to shave after so many days off? Is he trolling us?

 

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A post shared by Adam Scotti (@adamscotti) on

The post contains no answers except for where (Ottawa) and when (2020.01.06) it was taken but we have an inkling Scotti knew exactly what he was doing when he posted it. He was just the first of several to share photos of the PM with his new facial companion. Trudeau’s beard was also pictured later in a national defence meeting and then again in a meeting with MP Greg Fergus—all the photos appear to be from the same day, but he’s very clearly not trying to hide it. And currently, we can’t form an opinion as to whether he should or not.

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It seems the internet at large is just as conflicted. Some people claim it makes him look more business-like, more statesmanly, if you will. Others are feeling it contributes less to his dignity as a leader and more to his “Hot PM” image—the word “daddy” was thrown about quite a bit. Then there are the nay-sayers who think the beard was a catastrophic mistake (they have fair points too) or took issue with calling the facial hair a “beard” at all. There’s also the view that it’s a distraction (we’re talking about it, aren’t we?) or a PR move (see previous parenthetical), which is very valid.

Global points out that, being extremely image conscious, Trudeau wouldn’t make a move like this without careful consideration about the message it would convey. The last PM to have a full beard was Mackenzie Bowell who was PM in the mid-1890s and it’s possible Trudeau believes the facial hair will add some gravity and perceived wisdom to his second term in the driver’s seat. Maybe; but it also might just spark online debate until we get used to it.

This new facial accessory may be expertly calculated but that will never take away all the other times Trudeau’s facial hair was simply his play thing. We still haven’t formulated an opinion on the above, but we can say it’s better than the goatee thing he’s been known to have periodically (particularly that one time in 2011).

We eagerly await news if this is a permanent facial feature or a temporary stylistic faux pas.

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