Sophie’s Choice, Canadian-style

May 26, 2016   ·   0 Comments

She’s a positive role model, but the not the official one.

The recent hoopla over Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and her need for more assistants certainly got a few feathers ruffled, mostly with the Official Opposition, of course, because it’s their job to  criticize, rightly or wrongly, pretty much everything the government is up to.

The thing is, Ms. Gregoire Trudeau, is not the ‘first lady.’ She’s the Prime Minister’s wife.

While being the spouse of a politician may have some nice benefits and in some cases some minor duties, any tasks are only undertaken the same way the spouse of a business person would accompany him or her to a business function. You do it because you are that person’s partner and you want to support them.

Take a look at all the high-power positions in the country. If a person is named CEO of the largest corporation in the land, does that person’s partner automatically become ‘first person CEO’ and get placed on the payroll and given an official title and job? No, they don’t – they carry on with whatever they were doing to begin with.

Being the Prime Minister is obviously a high-profile role in the country. The Trudeaus’ recent trip to Washington was criticized for costing $25,000 and including Sophie, their children, and an entourage.

I’m surprised they managed to do it for that little amount of money – it’s a tear in the ocean when it comes to national spending.  The trip to Washington however, wasn’t a vacation. It was a goodwill trip and state visit and placed Prime Minister Trudeau at the centre of international attention and raised Canada’s profile.

It was especially noteworthy that Mr. Trudeau made the U.S. papers in a big way and now many people there know who he is.

That’s big news in a country whose population has very limited knowledge of any foreign world leaders and for the most part can’t seem to reckon with the fact that there is a nation of 3.5 million square miles attached to their northern border.

The fact that the Trudeaus are a young and attractive family and free of scandal is of course good for the country’s image, but that still doesn’t make Sophie an employee of the government.

During the Sophie Gregoire Trudeau debate, the media kept referring to Michelle Obama and her 20 or so assistants. So what? In the U.S. the ‘first lady’ is as well known as the president.

Ever since kicking out the British during the American Revolution, the U.S. has regretted it.

They may have had a revolution but the truth is no country wants a king and queen more than the Americans and they have been trying to create their own monarchy ever since.

There are constant references to ‘royalty’ in the U.S. media. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are routinely called ‘Hollywood royalty.’ There are references to rock stars and pop divas being the ‘King’ or ‘Queen’ of pop, rock, country, and every other genre of the industry. They invented the so called ‘Camelot’ dynasty of John F. Kennedy and his First Lady Jackie and applied the name of the legendary King Arthur’s royal court to describe that short lived presidential era.

The American media constantly refer to the Kennedy family as American royalty.                                                                                            Yes, the U.S. really does crave a royal family.

In the States, they might as well elect a couple. The first year in office of a newly elected president sees more coverage of which gown the first lady is wearing to an official White House ball than legislation proposed by her husband.

We have never had a ‘first lady’ position and we don’t need one. Other than Margaret Trudeau, who made the news more for her bad behaviour than her status at 24 Sussex Drive, who even remembers the other prime ministers’ wives?

I’ve heard nothing bad about Sophie Gregoire Trudeau. She seems like an intelligent, well-spoken woman who can speak  English and French equally well and presents a very positive image, especially on television.

But she wasn’t elected to office and she wasn’t hired for any position in the federal government.

She can go on all the talk shows she wants, and from what I’ve seen she’s very good at it. If she chooses to support her husband and his government through personal appearances you can’t blame her for that.

While the U.S. celebrate their pretend king and queen, we don’t have to – we’ve already got a queen.

When it comes to politicians, however, let’s let the elected officials do their job and keep their families out of the official business.

Written by Brian Lockhart

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