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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comes to Guelph (8 photos)

Tours Magna Polycon and poses for a photo op during brief stop in Royal City Thursday afternoon

It was, to be fair, exactly as promised.

"Photo opportunity only," said the press release advertising Thursday's visit by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Guelph, his first since taking office.

The Prime Minister toured auto parts manufacturer Magna Polycon on Independence Place and, as billed, posed for photos.

Trudeau had visited London earlier in the day, speaking to media about a variety of issues. His whistle stop in Guelph was a flag-flying affair. An opportunity to visit a successful manufacturer and allow local Liberal MP Lloyd Longfield to show the boss off.

Photo ops, particularly ones involving someone of Trudeau's stature and popularity, can be interesting affairs.

First you are gathered in a holding room with the rest of the local media. No national attention on this stop, given there will be no announcement or interaction.

There are plenty of locals, including five people from the University of Guelph student newspaper that has put its last edition of the school year to bed already. Some of them are giddy. Like we said, he's a popular individual.

There are men in the holding room who like the kind of men you don't mess with and they most assuredly are. They have earpieces, short haircuts and check your identification.

Your camera gear is placed on the floor and a police dog is brought in to sniff around everyone's bags.

Then it's a long walk the part of the factory where the photo op will take place. You are herded into a small area, told not to cross the blue line, and watched very closely.

Trudeau's press secretary details the exact path the prime minister will take, which machine he will stop at and which machine he will operate, which, in photo-op jargon, is the "money shot."

Cheers alert you he is nearby. Then all hell breaks loose.

The man appears, along with an entourage of about 30 people: local politicians, security, Polycon executives, handlers.

As he arrives at the "photo op," about 100 Polycon workers converge. They don't have the same "behind the blue line" rules as the scene quickly becomes a forest of cell phones.

The blue line rule quickly disintegrates. Photographers jostle for position. Between people, cameras and factory equipment, it isn't much of a photo op.

Handshakes, smiles, applause. He dons a safety vest with "Prime Minister" on the back and is shown how to install a part on a bumper.

People cheer. Men smile. Women swoon. Selfies are taken.

Trudeau's official photographer, Adam Scotti, shows a pro move and kindly makes room and waves a local photographer up to the front to try and get a good shot.

Out of 285 photos taken in about eight minutes. Perhaps 10 of them were of good enough quality to use.

Just like that he's whisked away. You wait in your assigned area until the all-clear is given.

Later you realize the best pictures of the event were the selfies.


Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 20 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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