Canada PM's Wife Sparks Outrage by Saying She Needs 'Help'
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau wants her own 'team'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2016 5:28 PM CDT
Sophie Gregoire Trudeau attends a dinner at the White House, Thursday, March 10, 2016.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – Political gloves are off in Canada after the prime minister's wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, said she needs "a team" to help her "serve the people," reports In a French-language interview, the 41-year-old described her difficulty answering charity requests from her dining-room table while juggling family life with her husband, Justin Trudeau, and three children. "I’d love to be everywhere but I can't," she says. "I need help. ... People really lay out their suffering in some of the letters I receive." But in Canada, where there's no official "First Lady" position, some are accusing Grégoire Trudeau of abusing her role while others say critics are insensitive to working mothers or simply don't like the Trudeaus, the Globe & Mail reports. Among the reactions:

  • "It is really the hypocrisy of Mr. Trudeau at this point, always wanting more to do self-promotion, to do vanity trips," a Conservative MP tells the Globe & Mail. "That is where a lot of Canadians would question more [staff]."
  • A lawmaker with the left-wing NDP was no kinder, saying the interview "really speak[s] to a disconnect" about "what Canadian women face on a daily basis."
  • But the Toronto Star notes that past PM's wives have had at least one assistant—as Grégoire Trudeau does—and one, Mila Mulroney, had three.
  • Neil Macdonald argues at the CBC that Canadians just can't stand having a "tall poppy" around. "In Canada, we look at tall poppies and cluck and disapprove and fervently hope somebody takes them down a peg or two," he writes. "Who do they think they are, anyway?"
  • An open letter on Facebook sees pure sexism: "We're supposed to be perfect mothers, wives, friends, employees and citizens, and we're not supposed to admit that we can't do it without a little help," writes Amanda Brennan.

On a more practical note, the Prime Minister's office tells the Globe & Mail that it's considering giving Grégoire Trudeau a second assistant.