Canada’s diplomats have been told to stop using life-size, cardboard cut-outs of Justin Trudeau at promotional events.
Stand-up images of the prime minister have appeared at Canadian events in the United States, attracting visitors, many of whom have snapped fake-Trudeau selfies and then posted them on social media.
A Trudeau cut-out appeared at Canada Day events last year at the embassy in Washington, for example, and as recently as last week, at a Canadian tourism booth at the South by Southwest arts festival in Austin, Texas.
But after Conservative party researchers alerted news media, including CBC News, to the images, Global Affairs Canada ordered an end to the practice.
“We are aware of instances where our missions in the United States had decided to purchase and use these cut-outs,” department spokesperson Michael O’Shaughnessy said in an email.
“The missions have been asked to no longer use these for their events.”
A Trudeau cut-out was rush-ordered by the embassy last June from an online firm based in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., for $147.79 US including shipping, access-to-information documents obtained by the Conservatives show.
Bureaucrats at the time called the idea a “hoot” that would generate “some serious selfie action,” released emails say.
Others urged caution: “It just doesn’t seem very prime ministerial.” But the order got a green light after it was noted that the U.S. embassy in Ottawa had used a Barack Obama cut-out.
Several firms in Canada and the United States sell cut-outs of famous people, drawing on an in-house inventory of electronic images. Some allow customers to send in a personal image to be transferred to cardboard.
The Pennsylvania firm used by the Washington…