News / Canada

Justin Trudeau geeking out on West Wing podcast this week

Justin Trudeau will be a guest on Wednesday's episode of The West Wing Weekly, a podcast for fans of the beloved 1999-2006 U.S. political drama.

The Prime Minister chats on Skype with hosts of the podcast The West Wing Weekly.

The West Wing Weekly Twitter

The Prime Minister chats on Skype with hosts of the podcast The West Wing Weekly.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's face is all over the Internet again -- and not because of politics. Not real-world politics, anyway.

He'll be a guest on Wednesday's episode of The West Wing Weekly, a podcast for fans of the beloved 1999-2006 U.S. political drama created by Aaron Sorkin.

Each week, hosts Hrishikesh Hirway and Joshua Malina dissect one episode of the West Wing, often with help from people who worked on the show and experts on its subject matter.

Trudeau may be positioned as one such expert – on what it means to be Canadian. In the episode he discussed, season three’s Dead Irish Writers, the character Donna finds out she might not be a U.S. citizen because she was born just over Minnesota's border with Manitoba. 

The topic is a natural fit for Trudeau, said Alex Marland, political science professor at Memorial University and author of Brand Command: Canadian Politics and Democracy in the Age of Message Control.

“The Liberal Party of Canada sees itself as the party of Canada, the party of national unity, that Liberal values are Canadian values,” he said. “They would want to talk about it.”

The Prime Minister’s cool-dad shtick on social media and mainstream media -- unicorn-hugging, photo-bombing, podcast-chattering -- will be well-received as long as he isn't seen ducking hard questions from the press at the same time, Marland added.

On Saturday the @WestWingWeekly Twitter page posted a photo of Trudeau chatting with the hosts on Skype, wearing a pink open-necked shirt and looking slightly sleepy, but smiling. The image is not exactly prime ministerial, but “he is wearing a shirt,” Marland said.  

Cameron Ahmad, media-relations manager at the Prime Minister's Office, wrote in an email to Metro that the Prime Minister was happy to talk about a TV show that "developed the interest and curiosity of many into the world of politics and public policy."

The chat touched on "governance, gender equality and diversity," Ahmad said, adding, "We are always looking for ways to engage with people through different media platforms – from more traditional mediums to new and emerging ones."

It's no surprise that fans of progressive president/loveable dad Josiah Bartlet, the fictional Commander-in-Chief on the West Wing, reacted to the news of Trudeau’s appearance with a deluge of celebratory West Wing gifs. Trump-weary American liberals have been looking at Canada with particular longing lately.

Clearly Trudeau’s media team calculated that his guesting on a podcast all about U.S. politics would be a “net positive” Marland said, adding that it could help build up Canada's "brand" as the two countries prepare to face off over NAFTA.

But it might not be as complicated as all that. The podcasters said on Twitter that they’ve been chasing the PM for an interview for a year. Katie Telford, Trudeau’s chief of staff, tweeted Saturday that she’s a fan of the podcast and is glad the interview worked out.

The West Wing Weekly's creators were unable to comment before press time.

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