Give the lady a break!


In an interview with the French

In an interview with the French
newspaper Le Soleil, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau said she is overwhelmed and needs more help to deal with the volume of requests she receives for her time. She was quoted saying she would like to be everywhere, but is not able, because her husband is the Prime Minister and she has three young children to look after.
The interview sparked a huge backlash as Canadians debated the role of Prime Ministers’ wives, and criticized Grégoire Trudeau for being out of touch with the reality faced by many working Canadian women since the couple already employs two publicly-funded nannies and an assistant to help manage the requests she receives. 
As taxpayers, we have a right to complain about the way our tax dollars are spent. But take a minute to review the reverse side of the coin.
Unlike the United States where the President’s wife, the First Lady, has an
official role and duties, the same does not exist in Canada; the only spouse with an official role is the Governor General’s wife. In the past, the wives of prime ministers have either kept their distance from politics and remained relatively low-profile like Aline Chrétien, or they have been very active and present in the public eye like Mila Mulroney, and now, Grégoire Trudeau, who, according to the PMO, receives between 50 and 60 requests per week to participate in various events.
But here’s the thing: she is not paid for any of the public appearances she makes or the various causes she supports. She volunteers her time as a contribution to public service, and to her credit, her presence has an impact on the causes she represents by increasing media attention, etc. She participates in events for CHEO, the Wabano Fundraising-Gala, We Day, anorexia and bulimia awareness events; she’s involved with the Fillactive foundation, and is the Honourary Chair of the National Art Centre.  All this, as well as accompanying Justin on international
visits, among other things.
Isn’t this what we want? Someone who reaches out to Canadians and supports them in their causes, helps those who are in need, and dedicates time to make the
country a better place to live? Do we expect her to do it without adequate support?
Let’s remember, she wasn’t asking for more help caring for her children, but instead more aid in responding and preparing for the requests she receives – basically an additional secretary.
Would Canadians prefer she say ‘no’ to various charities and organizations that reach out for her involvement and help? It would certainly be less work. But then, would she be criticized her for not being involved, caring or down-to-earth?
Any working mother can testify to the amount of effort and time it takes to juggle work and family life in order to keep the home fires burning, never mind the requests and demands of an entire country. Her involvement may not be required, but it certainly creates a positive image for Canada for what we are, and what we stand for.
Allyson Beauregard