Trudeau gives Putin a thumbs up

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President of Russia Vladimir Putin with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau at the Paris Peace Forum’s plenary session (

Canadian journalists question the depth of the Prime Minister’s condemnation of Russia’s malicious actions in international affairs

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was asked about his encounter with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, prior to the inaugural meeting of the Paris Peace Forum on November 11, 2018.

The two leaders, seated side by side at the Forum’s opening, had talked to each other for approximately 30 seconds which was caught on camera. Besides the small conversation itself, the video also reflects its friendly tone and concludes with a thumbs up given by Justin Trudeau to Vladimir Putin. According to CBC, journalists covering the Prime Minister’s trip to Paris immediately requested information on the substance of this short dialogue from Trudeau’s office. And the answer was that the Canadian Prime Minister used this opportunity to highlight the Russian people’s sacrifices during the First and the Second World Wars.

“… therefore it’s important to have Russian representation here to talk about peace.”

On November 12, 2018, when Justin Trudeau himself held a media availability, he was asked to clarify how the existing deterioration of Canada-Russia relations corresponded with his thumb gesture and friendliness to Vladimir Putin. And as stated by the Prime Minister, the acknowledgement that “the world was coming together for peace” doesn’t really change the well-known unequivocal Canadian condemnation of Russia’s interference in Ukraine, meddling in western democratic institutions and the use of Novichok in the UK. When asked specifically about a potential Russian interference in the upcoming election in Canada in 2019, Justin Trudeau responded indirectly, elaborating on the work which had been done “to strengthen our democracy in Canada to make sure Elections Canada and indeed political parties have the tools to protect citizens and our democracy from outside interference.”

The Paris Peace Forum, a new international cooperation platform inspired by the French President Emmanuel Macron, gathered heads of states and governments, together with various other stakeholders involved in global governance. From almost 900 applications, 119 projects were selected to be presented to world leaders in the course of the event. It is seen as an opportunity for those project teams “to connect with global governance actors to discuss their ideas and make them known with experts and decision-makers, liaise with potential funders and ultimately push their initiative further towards successful implementation.”

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