Justin Trudeau is sporting a new, more serious look to go with his more businesslike approach to being prime minister.
He has returned from more than two weeks vacation in Costa Rica with a salt-and-pepper beard.
Trudeau's new look was revealed in a photo posted Monday on Instagram by his official photographer, Adam Scotti.
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A post shared by Adam Scotti (@adamscotti) on Jan 6, 2020 at 11:17am PST
Trudeau later tweeted another photo showing him and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan being briefed by military officials on developments in Iraq.
This morning, @HarjitSajjan and I met with @CDS_Canada_CEMD & @DMDND_SMMDN to discuss the latest developments in Iraq. The safety & well-being of Canadians in the region is our top priority, and we’ll keep monitoring the situation closely and encouraging de-escalation. pic.twitter.com/C3PUpUMFvR— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 6, 2020
It's not clear whether the beard is here to stay, at least for a while, or just the temporary result of not bothering to shave while on vacation — the Prime Minister's Office offered no immediate comment on the matter.
But for now at least, Trudeau is the first prime minister to sport a full beard since Mackenzie Bowell, who served from 1894 to 1896.
Trudeau has exhibited a fondness for facial hair in the past.
In younger days, including when he was first elected as an MP, he sported a variety of moustaches, goatees and the occasional beard, along with longer, more unruly hair. Critics carped from time to time that he looked like a pirate or a drug lord.
But since being elected Liberal leader in 2013, Trudeau has resolutely stuck to short locks and a clean-shaven face — until now.
His new beard is neatly trimmed and flecked liberally with grey. It seems to match Trudeau's stated intention to take a lower profile, more businesslike approach to his second mandate, keeping the focus on concrete bread-and-butter initiatives and shifting the spotlight to his team of cabinet ministers.
Social media users were quick to offer their own analyses of the beard.
As I read stories this morning about the meaning behind the PM’s new beard, I won’t draw any conclusions until I hear from the politician beard expert @ThomasMulcair.— Lisa Raitt (@lraitt) January 7, 2020
It's such a slow news day in Canada, that Justin Trudeau grew a small beard and the usual folks are losing their minds. :p pic.twitter.com/QcDaIbwdsU— Mubin Shaikh (@MrMubinShaikh) January 7, 2020
Correct me if I’m wrong but is Justin Trudeau the first Canadian Prime Minister since Sir Mackenzie Bowell to have a beard in office? pic.twitter.com/oegu13Gf91— Johnny Novak🎒 (@JohnnyNovak) January 7, 2020