By: Laura Steiner
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, and lately she has felt overwhelmed with the duties of her new status. She feels like she wants to be everywhere but can’t because her husband’s the Prime Minister, and she has three young children at home. And she wants at least one more assistant.
I give her points for realising that it’s tough to balance a job and a family. But wait the Prime Minister’s spouse isn’t a job. She’s the spouse of the person who happened to be leader of party of the most seats.
She can have the extra staff, but it has to be paid from the P.M.O’s (Prime Minister’s Office) budget. Former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s wife was set-up with a staff. Conservatives at the time were okay with that, likely because Mulroney did it in a quiet enough way it didn’t raise much fuss. And it was probably done before anyone realized what happened.
Grégoire Trudeau requested more help in an interview with a French-language newspaper. It was as if she wanted to bring attention to how much she actually did, and what sacrifices she had to make. And it is a legitimate question to ask what exactly her ‘job’ is. If you think of your marriage as work, then maybe you shouldn’t be married.
It might be an honest request. But coming from the glamourous wife of the Prime Minister with two nannies it comes off as elitist. She complains she can’t be everywhere. Well neither can every other working mother in the country. It’s as if she’s lost touch with reality. For a Prime Minister so early in his mandate, that’s a problem because it reflects badly on him.
America has First Lady as an actual position with a budget. Each person occupying the role tailored it to their interests and passions. Michelle Obama is interested in kids’ health, and that’s led her charities associated with that.
We are not America. The position “Prime Minister” is a First among equals. They’re still a Member of Parliament, they just happen to have extra duties associated with being head-of-government. Shouldn’t the same kind of equality apply to his spouse? No other woman in the country has an assistant to deal with the duties of wife/mother/ career woman. Why should it be different for Sophie Gregoire Trudeau?
If Grégoire Trudeau wanted to really make a difference for Canadians she’d take her lumps. She’d decide what was really important to her and pursue it quietly. Use her spotlight to focus more in women’s issues instead of complaining about the help she feels she’s entitled to.