Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party recaptured the lead on October 19 as Canada’s ruling party for the first time in nearly a decade. While Trudeau’s talk of bringing Syrian refugees into Canada and investigating the mysterious disappearance, or murders, of countless aboriginal women is rightfully gaining attention, it is the recent Vogue magazine spread on Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, that has put the political leader in the spotlight.
Vogue‘s spread on Trudeau is set to hit newsstands in January 2016, and while there is some reference to his youthful good looks and how attractive his wife is — referencing a recent New York Post article that referred to her as the “Hottest First Lady in the World” — the focus is on the young prime minister’s desire to see a return to the “sunny days” of Canadian politics. It was a term first coined by Canadian prime minister Wilfrid Laurier.
The Toronto Star noted the popularity of the online piece, saying that it was the most viewed article on the site on Wednesday after its release. Now that Trudeau has become prime minister, comparisons to the United States’ Kennedy clan or the British royal family have been somewhat inevitable.
One Canadian reporter said, according to the Vogue piece, that “This is our Camelot,” and he was not far off. No other political family in recent Canadian memory has captured the attention that Trudeau has, and while some might argue that Justin Trudeau is, in some ways, invoking his father’s memory as he prepares to enter month three of his tenure as prime minister, the comparisons are unavoidable. The elder Trudeau was certainly one of the most glamorous politicians that Canada could recall, and the current Prime Minister Trudeau is not exactly hard on the eyes.
There are those, however, who believe that there were better ways for Trudeau to spend his time than having an interview and its accompanying photo spread in Vogue.
— VICE Canada (@vicecanada) December 11, 2015
Andrew Coyne of the National Post also said that Justin Trudeau’s place in Canadian lore was secure from birth. “He is our John-John or Prince William,” he said.
Trudeau is not occupying the traditional prime minister’s residence, 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Canada; rather, he and his young family — Trudeau and Grégoire-Trudeau are parents to Xavier, Ella-Grace, and Hadrien, all of whom are 8-years-old and younger — are taking up residence at Rideau Cottage, a 22-room residence where the new prime minister was sworn in.
Trudeau’s wife, Sophie, does not see herself in the political role of the Canadian equivalent of First Lady. She said during the Vogue interview that she felt her role is that of a wife and mother, and that she wanted to pursue the social causes that she holds dear. “One of my duties is to really stay grounded,” she said.
Trudeau had high praise for his wife, as well, noting that he felt they were more like partners than his father and mother, Margaret Trudeau, for whom he said he had sympathy. He admitted that his mother was the wife of a world leader in a time “when there was a level of rigidity and tension and misogyny that made it extremely difficult for her.”
— Ayesha (@Ayeshaspeaksnow) December 11, 2015
Justin Trudeau also acknowledged his ambivalence about entering the Canadian political scene, something he held off doing until the early part of the 21st century. Up until that point, he had assumed jobs as a teacher and snowboard instructor, in addition to some minor acting roles. It was during his father’s funeral in 2000 that Justin Trudeau seemed to have a moment where he looked very ready to take on the mantle of potential Canadian leader. The eldest son of Pierre Elliott Trudeau eulogized his father, and there were those who thought Justin Trudeau might be ready to take on his father’s former role.
By 2013, Justin Trudeau became Liberal Party leader, and his work was very much cut out for him. The party was so destroyed it had even lost status as official Opposition. It was his optimistic outlook, though, that powered him to Canada’s top job, and now that he is there, Trudeau refuses to accept a lower quality of life for Canadians as the status quo.
“There’s a sense that maybe we’ve reached the end of progress, that maybe it’s the new normal that the quality of life is going to go down for the next generation. Well, I refuse to accept that,” Trudeau said.
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]