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Sophie's Choice Is A Question Of Entitlement

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SOPHIE GREGOIRE TRUDEAU
Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/CP
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As is so often the case in modern society, the cry of entitlement comes most often from the entitled themselves, the wealthy, the elected, the appointed; the establishment, which, I suggest, includes a significant cohort of conservative-minded baby boomers.

Baby boomers, by demographic good fortune, have, relatively speaking, had their lives handed to them on a golden plate compared to the generations X and Y who follow them.

Yet, most, every chance they get, they will regale you with their tales of walking uphill to school, both ways, knee deep in snow without proper footwear.

News flash. Everyone has had a hill to climb. It's called life. And that's what we're here to do.

Yet their elected conservative representatives rarely miss a chance to harp on that narrative. Out from the breast pocket of their custom-made suit comes the dreaded entitlement card. Lest the ambitions of those with whom they disagree take the focus away from the windmills they seek to slay on their very old donkey.

justin trudeau kidsSophie Grégoire Trudeau, who has three kids, said in an interview that she needs help juggling many requests for her to speak at events and promote various organizations.

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is only one of a generation of young people asking for help. Help with affordable housing, help with quality child care, help with education, help with student loans, help with mental health, help with precarious employment, help with retirement planning. It's OK to ask for help. It's not OK to shut down that conversation by playing the entitlement card.

Nothing comes of a disrespectful dismissal of a request for help. Especially when it comes from those who need so little of it.

Let's clear up a few assumptions.

1) Sophie's choice demonstrates that young people have an outlandish sense of entitlement.

Nope. I know them. I teach them. I work with them. They are my neighbours and my friends. I had it way easier. Did you graduate with debt? Do you have a pension? Enough said.

2) Sophie's choice shows disrespect for taxpayers.

Nope. The idea that one extra staffer will take from the mouths of babes of the working poor is cruel and illogical. I hate to bring up another baby boomer narrative but you taught us that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You were right. We're talking about pounds of prevention here.

3) Sophie's choice is too expensive.

Nope. Rather than focus on the cost of an extra staff person, let's focus on the exchange of value. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is asking us to help her help others. The potential in this more formalized role of a prime minister's wife is massive in a social media-driven society.

This will have a direct net benefit, both socially and economically. No. Doubt. About. It. She's asking for the team she needs to help worthy organizations improve the lives of the vulnerable and disadvantaged. The side effect is a win for those of wealth and privilege, by the way.

4) Sophie's choice to ask for help is a slap in the face.

Her request for help was an act of humility. You think it's easy to be the prime minister's partner and ask for help? Margaret Trudeau asked for help. We humiliated her.

Mila Mulroney didn't even ask. She just did what she needed to do. And she did great things. Aline Chretien was quiet but instrumental in her support of vulnerable people. Apparently Mrs. Harper liked cats. Unelected public office is a cruel world.

sophie gregoire trudeauSophie Grégoire-Trudeau is a sought-after speaker for various events and causes.

As an elected representative in my own community, I admit, the job can lend itself to a sense of entitlement if you chose to play that card. I do not. Nor do most of the elected officials with whom I work.

We only want to read about those who take advantage of their good fortune and public trust. The Pareto principle applies. 20 per cent of the people do 80 per cent of the damage. But good people working hard don't sell many newspapers. At least they didn't last time I checked.

I can, however, play the mom card -- that, I feel entitled to -- I must tell you that I am deeply disappointed in the negative response to a genuine call for help from someone ideally positioned to offer it.

The point of asking for help is to do better. If you're part of the old government and you can't see your way clear, maybe it's time to ask for some help too. I promise, the average Canadian won't play the entitlement card.

When the Syrians needed help, we helped. When the Fort Mac evacuees needed help, we helped. If you need help, we'll help. But that includes a willingness to respond to a need for help from others, including the wife of the prime minister you didn't want elected.

Can we please get back to work now?

Earlier on HuffPost:

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