No cardboard cut-outs of Trudeau, Canada diplomats told

Four men posing with the cardboard cut out of Justin Trudeau in Austin Image copyright Adam Jiwa
Image caption Mr Trudeau's likeness was toasted by visitors to the South by Southwest festival in Texas earlier this month

Canadian diplomatic missions in the United States have been told to stop using life-size cardboard cut-outs of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to promote the country.

The two-dimensional Trudeaus have been spotted at a number of promotional events in the US, most recently at a tourism stand at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, CBC News reports. But while they seem to be popular with visitors who share photos on social media, the government department Global Affairs Canada is less than impressed.

"We are aware of instances where our missions in the United States had decided to purchase and use these cut-outs," spokesman Michael O'Shaughnessy tells CBC. "The missions have been asked to no longer use these for their events." CBC says the department did not respond to questions about why the instruction was given.

The decision comes after a freedom of information request by the opposition Conservative Party revealed emails sent between embassy and consular staff. They show that the embassy in Washington DC paid for express delivery of a Trudeau cut-out last summer so that it would arrive in time for Canada Day celebrations, The Canadian Press reports.

The Washington embassy's interest was apparently piqued by the presence of a cardboard Trudeau at the consulate in Atlanta. Some staff were concerned that the idea was not very prime ministerial, but the embassy's events production manager said it would be "a hoot" and prove popular on Snapchat. Photos from the day show visitors to the embassy posing for pictures alongside the cut-out.

While some saw it as a bit of fun, the Conservatives didn't miss the opportunity to take a dig at the real prime minister, MP John Brassard telling CBC: "A life-size, two-dimensional cut-out is probably a perfect metaphor for everything that Justin Trudeau represents."

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