By David Friend, The Canadian Press
NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gamely bantered about his sex appeal, his thoughts on Canada’s relationship with the U.S., and how he’d like to see a woman lead the country as he appeared on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” on Monday.
Trudeau was the first sitting Canadian prime minister to appear on the long-running American daytime TV show, which was visiting Niagara Falls, Ont., for two episodes.
The conversation went from light and personal to political, with Trudeau telling co-hosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest the relationship between Canada and the United States “is unbelievably deep.”
Ripa noted Trudeau was close with former U.S. president Barack Obama and asked how he would characterize his relationship with current President Donald Trump.
“We have a good, constructive working relationship and that’s the important part of it,” said Trudeau. “There’s a lot of things we agree on.
“Today is World Environment Day, we don’t agree on that, because I think there’s a lot of good jobs in the environment that we’re building for. But we both agree that the most important responsibility of a leader is to create good jobs for middle-class people across our countries and we’re connected on that.”
Trudeau was in the hot seat as soon as he sat down and Ripa asked: “How does your wife feel about you being named the sexiest politician alive?”
“My wife’s the one who doesn’t believe it. She’s like, ‘Really?’ She knows what I look like when I get up in the morning,” said Trudeau.
“Is it so different than this?” replied Ripa.
“A little messier,” quipped Trudeau.
Sitting outdoors at the Oakes Garden Theatre, with the American and Horseshoe Falls as the backdrop and scores of audience members sitting on the grass in front of the stage, the three also chatted about Trudeau’s childhood and his experiences having his father being Canada’s prime minister.
“Do you secretly want one of (your kids) to become the next prime minister?” asked Seacrest.
“Definitely not,” said Trudeau. He later added: “Although I will say, I have one daughter and there is something very special about imagining a woman prime minister.”
Trudeau said a female PM was “long overdue,” seemingly forgetting about Kim Campbell’s short-lived stint in office in 1993.
“I just don’t think we have to wait that long,” he said in reference to his eight-year-old daughter Ella-Grace. “I think it should be sooner than that.”
They also briefly touched on the latest terror attack in London and security at home.
“I’ve been going from tourist destination to tourist destination right here and I’ve never felt safer, so you’re doing an outstanding job,” Ripa told Trudeau.
During a commercial break, Seacrest pulled out his phone for a selfie with Trudeau and Ripa. When he couldn’t frame the group in the shot, Trudeau snatched the camera away and took the photo.
Monday’s “Live with Kelly and Ryan” also included an appearance from “Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany and American singer Erin Bowman.
The episode kicked off with the hosts remarking on the unpredictable weather in the region and how they spent the weekend exploring the falls, with Seacrest on the water and Ripa at the casino.
The second episode set in Niagara Falls, which will air Tuesday, features “America’s Got Talent” judge Howie Mandel, “Cars 3” star Nathan Fillion, and musical performers French Montana and Swae Lee. It was also shot on Monday.
This is the show’s third time airing from the falls after broadcasts in 1996 and 2006.
“Live with Kelly and Ryan” airs on CTV in Canada and in national syndication in the U.S.
— With files from Victoria Ahearn in Toronto.