Sophie Grégoire Trudeau dared to admit to a Quebec newspaper that she needs more help, and the country went berserk. After all, here is a stay-at-home mom-of-three already charging taxpayers for nannies, and she needs more help. Who does she think she is!
She's the Prime Minister's wife, which comes with a whole host of duties and obligations. Unlike other PM wives who were content to remain in the background (Aline Chrétien did and Olive Diefenbaker), Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is passionate and outspoken in her own right. She is a huge advocate of women's issues in particular.
Like Mila Mulroney before her, she prefers to get involved. Way back when, Mulroney had three staffers, while Grégoire Trudeau's predecessor Laureen Harper had just one. And Grégoire Trudeau's help currently operates from the dining room table...
But therein lies the big difference. Unlike Mrs Harper, Grégoire Trudeau is in demand. She's incredibly popular, so requests for public engagements and speeches are pouring in. Every week she gets an estimated 50 to 60 requests to appear at some charity or other. The correspondence must be insane.
Of course she doesn't have to get involved in any of these events. After all, she doesn't get a penny for them. But the country would be worse off without her contribution. Her work - and yes, it is work - is an important service to our country.
How can Canadians fail to see the value in having a prominent and active spouse is beyond me. Are we really saying that a Prime Minister wife's only role is to "stand by her man" and smile for cameras during official stately engagements?
Because that is what our criticism amounts to. Let's get our heads out of the kitchen for a moment, shall we? Stately spouses like Grégoire Trudeau and Michelle Obama have a valuable role to play in public service if we let them. We see Vogue covers and fancy dresses and assume being the PM's wife is all fun and frivolity - and occasionally it probably is - yet the stately role extends far beyond that.
Instead of begrudging assistance, let's show support for the job these women do instead of discouraging their involvement in public office.
Grégoire Trudeau epitomizes the work-life struggle so many of us can relate to, so why resent her for it? Why hate on her for admitting she needs more help to manage the crazy demands put on her?
She's not superwoman, nor should she be. Sure, none of us have one paid assistant, let alone three. But then, none of us faces the unique demands of her position. Not even close.
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