The Prime Minister of Canada went through an awkward moment when he met Anthony Albanese for the first time, and he seems to have tripped over his words.
It’s the number one rule when it comes to winning friends and influencing people – remember their full name.
But that simple task seems to have escaped from Canadian leader Justin Trudeau, who seemed to embarrassingly forget the name Anthony Albanese altogether and then oddly referred to him as “Tony” when the two prime ministers met at a summit in Madrid on Thursday.
The duo met face-to-face for the first time since the Workers’ Party won elections in May at a NATO meeting in the Spanish capital.
Australia is not a member of NATO, but was invited along with New Zealand, South Korea and Japan to the summit due to heightened tensions with China which were among the main items of discussion.
Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Albanese met on the sidelines of the event and posed for the cameras to shake hands.
Then things seemed to fall apart.
Following Prime Minister Albanese’s introduction, the Canadian seemed to stumble upon his counterpart’s first name.
“It is really a pleasure to meet, ah, ah, ah…a…a great…a progressive leader.
“We are really excited to have… ah,… a friend in Australia.
“Australia has been a friend for a long time.
“We’ll talk a lot with, uh… with Tony and all our friends in Australia.”
Gallantically, Mr. Albanese did not hesitate to err.
In May, the prime minister was so new to his role that he wore a special badge when he attended a four-way summit in Tokyo with US President Joe Biden and the leaders of South Korea and Japan.
ABC’s Steven Dzidzic reported that the badge “indicates his seniority as prime minister – just in case he’s not recognized by someone at the scene”.
This was less of a problem for Biden, Modi and Mr. Kishida, all of whom felt they had no need to wear the blue accessory.
But since Mr. Albanese was sworn in just the day before he attended the summit, the badge ensured that no one would mistake him for an employee.
Forgetting who the Australian prime ministers are seems to be common.
Last year, President Biden forgot former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s name, referring to him instead with “This slave is falling underground.”
Mr. Albanese is scheduled to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday after the Madrid summit.
The couple are seeking to repair a relationship that was badly damaged by the abandonment of a submarine contract, an official told AFP Wednesday.
The talks at the Elysee would be the first such formal bilateral summit between the Australian and French leaders since former Mr Morrison in September 2021 tore up a French contract to build dozens of diesel-powered submarines.
The cancellation of the contract led to an unprecedented crisis between Canberra and Paris and such bad blood that outgoing foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian praised Morrison’s loss in the polls to Albanese, which he said “fits me well”.
Albanese announced earlier this month that French submarine maker Naval Group had agreed to a “fair and equitable settlement” of 555 million euros (A840 million Australian dollars) to terminate Australia’s multi-billion dollar submarine contract.
– With AFP.
Originally published as an embarrassing moment when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Prime Minister Albanese at the NATO Summit
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