REGINA – #PrayforSophie has sparked a sarcastic storm of one-liners. Tweeters joking they will set up lemonade stands or telethons to help Sophie Grégoire Trudeau afford the help she needs. Others, even going as far to say she wasn’t voted in, she shouldn’t be spending federal tax money at all.
Michelle Obama has two dozen staffers but she is the First Lady, a title which doesn’t officially exist in Canada.
The only spouse with an official title and role in Canada is the husband or wife of the Governor General.
So it raises the questions, what is the official role of the Prime Minister’s wife?
Jim Farney is a political science professor at the University of Regina and says that the Prime Minister’s wife can technically be and do whatever she wants.
“They’ve gone back and forth, Mila Mulroney back in the ’80’s had a presence very much like what Sophie Trudeau does now,” said Farney.
In between the Mulroneys and the 2015 Trudeaus, there were comparatively more quiet wives, like Laureen Harper, Aline Chretien and Sheila Martin.
Mulroney chose to be in the limelight aside her husband, she had an office in the PMO and three staffers. She constantly travelled for appearances and charity work much like Grégoire Trudeau.
The Trudeaus currently have two tax-funded nannies, a personal chef and Grégoire Trudeau does have one personal assistant. However, in an interview with a French newspaper she mentioned how overwhelmed she is feeling, with constant invitations to public speaking.
She told the newspaper she wants to attend all of them, and feels bad declining but just doesn’t have the current resources to handle a heavier workload.
“It’s not too surprising to me that folks want to reach out to her and have her come in as a speaker, that she requires support for that eventually I would think we will end up with her being some a part of staff, or having staff,” explained Farney.