Justin Trudeau, So­phie and the kids: Canada’s po­lit­i­cal fam­ily

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

MON­TREAL: Justin Trudeau hasn’t been alone as his star rises in the po­lit­i­cal world-whether vis­it­ing China’s Great Wall, din­ing at the White House or march­ing in Toronto’s gay pride pa­rade, he’s of­ten joined by his fam­ily who have helped ce­ment his rep­u­ta­tion as a down-to-earth ev­ery­man. Upon tak­ing of­fice one year ago, the prime min­is­ter set the tone: Although he’s Canada’s leader, he’s also a fa­ther with a young fam­ily. Wife So­phie, nine-year-old Xavier, seven-year-old Ella Grace and two-year-old Hadrien have done their part to bol­ster dad’s po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

The chil­dren seemed un­af­fected by the glare of the me­dia at Trudeau’s swear­ing-in, while trick-or-treat­ing on Hal­loween, or dur­ing for­eign trips on gov­ern­ment busi­ness. “Justin ex­plored the world when he was young,” when his fa­ther Pierre Trudeau was prime min­is­ter and sim­i­larly grew up in the lime­light, said Alex Mar­land, a politics pro­fes­sor at Memo­rial Univer­sity in New­found­land. His care­free “flower child” mother and sib­lings were also used to bol­ster the prime min­is­ter’s im­age, Mar­land said, shown at the elder Trudeau’s side when he greeted Queen El­iz­a­beth II or Fidel Cas­tro.

“Justin Trudeau grew up with the me­dia, and his wife (a for­mer tele­vi­sion host) has ob­vi­ously a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence with the me­dia too,” Mar­land said. So­phie Gre­goire-Trudeau has a nat­u­ral el­e­gance and has helped pro­mote Cana­dian fash­ions by wear­ing pieces by lo­cal de­sign­ers. Days after the Lib­er­als’ elec­tion win, the cou­ple were fea­tured on the cover of Vogue mag­a­zine gazing deeply and af­fec­tion­ately into each other’s eyes. “It’s celebrity politics,” said Myr­iam Durocher, a com­mu­ni­ca­tions re­searcher at the Univer­sity of Mon­treal. The cou­ple and their three chil­dren evoke tra­di­tional fam­ily val­ues, she said.

Please don’t call me Madame

PG For­est, di­rec­tor of the School of Public Pol­icy at the Univer­sity of Calgary, says Trudeau has what he calls “the Hol­ly­wood fac­tor. ”“Part of his per­sonal ap­peal and very high ap­proval rat­ing is his abil­ity to re­late to any­body,” he added. “It’s fas­ci­nat­ing.” In the spring, the Trudeaus trav­eled to Wash­ing­ton for a state din­ner hosted by US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, which drew not only se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials but also stars from Hol­ly­wood and Amer­i­can mu­sic. Aged 44 and 41, Justin and So­phie em­body a new gen­er­a­tion in Cana­dian politics. At a Gay Pride event in Van­cou­ver this sum­mer, Justin pushed Hadrian in a stroller while Xavier and Ella-Grace marched along­side their mother seem­ingly un­fazed by the gaze of the huge crowd around them. “Pub­lic­ity and politics go hand in hand, and in or­der to have a public pro­file you must pro­mote a public im­age,” Durocher said. Trudeau, she says, has nur­tured his im­age as mod­ern leader. She also points out that Trudeau taps into deep emo­tions with the public, for ex­am­ple, when he stepped down from the plane that brought him to Wash­ing­ton with Hadrien in his arms, or when he and his wife dressed as Star Wars char­ac­ters to take their chil­dren trick-or­treat­ing on Hal­loween.

Trudeau uses so­cial me­dia plat­forms like Face­book and In­sta­gram (or WeChat and Weibo dur­ing a visit to China) to reach younger gen­er­a­tions. He poses will­ingly with strangers for self­ies. His wife is now catch­ing up, hav­ing launched Face­book and In­sta­gram ac­counts only a few days ago. “To­day is a first! For the past decade or so, I’ve re­sisted get­ting on so­cial me­dia in ev­ery way... It’s time,” she wrote in her in­au­gu­ral post. Her Face­book cover photo is a goofy fam­ily photo, and she signed her first post “So­phie (please don’t call me Madame).”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.