Let's settle this once and for all: the prime minister of Canada's wife is not, and never will be, the First Lady of Canada.
Our apologies to the people who have already taken to calling Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau by this title (we're looking at you, New York Post). Even though Justin is now officially the country's 23rd prime minister after his swearing in ceremony on Nov. 4, Trudeau's wife should not be addressed with that moniker.
In fact, the spouse of the prime minister has no title at all — and is called, for all intents and purposes, the "spouse of the prime minister of Canada."
The title of First Lady is actually an unofficial one for the head of state's spouse, which makes it even less relevant to the Trudeaus — after all, there's only head of state for Canadians, and we all call her The Queen. The Governor General, the Queen's representative in Canada, is currently David Johnston. His wife Sharon has been called First Lady on official visits, though her official title is Her Excellency.
As Laureen Harper told the Globe and Mail in 2013, not only does the First Lady not exist in our country, but neither do any associated responsibilities.
“[Michelle Obama is] the First Lady of the United States and it’s a defined role,” Mrs. Harper says. “I’m the wife of the Prime Minister – there’s no First Lady in Canada. … [The Prime Minister’s wife] can have a big role, a small role, whatever.”
For Grégoire-Trudeau, who is already well-known as an activist for gender equality, cancer research and mental health across Canada, there's no doubt her new role will afford her more opportunities to speak out.
But in case you were wondering, the proper way to address the new prime minister's wife is Mrs. Grégoire-Trudeau. Though we're hoping she lets us call her Sophie.
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