London: With Angela Merkel preparing to leave the international stage, the oldest leader of the Group of Seven Nations is Canadian Justin Trudeau.
While he is positioning himself as the new aging statesman, no one sees him assuming the role the way the German chancellor did.
Joe Biden has decades of experience, even if he’s new to the US presidency. French Emmanuel Macron has aggressively positioned himself as Merkel’s heir in Europe (she will resign after elections in September) and Italian Mario Draghi, with his years at the head of the European Central Bank, is used to being heard wherever he goes. .
In the company of such heavyweights, the leader of the G7’s smallest economy cuts a marginal figure despite efforts to be the new “dean,” as he became known among the Canadian delegation at this weekend’s summit in Carbis Bay on the south coast of England.
Indeed, as the leaders walked the long beach promenade on Friday to take their positions for the traditional “family photo,” Trudeau fell behind as Macron headed straight for Biden. In 2017, Macron had leaned toward the fresh-faced Canadian.
Those images tell only part of the story. As Brexit erupted on the sidelines of the meeting, Trudeau offered his services as a mediator.
Canadian officials say the 49-year-old prime minister, in power since 2015, genuinely believes he can help Britain and the European Union find a solution to their trade dispute over Northern Ireland. Apparently no one has accepted the offer, even as Brexit tensions flare up on the last day of the summit.
However, the host, Boris Johnson, invited him to lead a high-stakes discussion on China and how to counter its growing economic and strategic power. A Canadian official said it was in recognition of his experience.