The quiet evolution of “La femme de Justin Trudeau” carries on .. almost as if it knows what it’s doing?

Mar 5th, 2012 | By | Category: Key Current Issues

Justin and Sophie on Tout le monde en parle, Sunday, March 4, 2012.

[UPDATED MARCH 31: CONGRATS M. TRUDEAU BOXEUR ; SEPTEMBER 28 : RUN JUSTIN RUN ; APRIL 15, 2013 : WON JUSTIN WON … scroll to bottom of page]. Back on September 25, 2005 — some six and a half years ago, believe it or not (we have trouble ourselves) — we posted something called “The quiet evolution of Sophie Gregoire (aka Mme Justin Trudeau).”  Since last night it has suddenly been attracting a lot of new readers.

The only reason we can see is hinted at by a headline in the francophone edition of MÉTRO news in Montreal: “La femme de Justin Trudeau vole le show à Tout le monde en parle.”

Last night, that is to say, Sunday, March 4, 2012, Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire (Trudeau) appeared on “one of the most-watched Canadian television programs, in either language.” (Although in this case the language is French. There is alas nothing quite like “Tout le monde en parle” in English-speaking Canada nowadays.)

At the Toronto International Film Festival 2008.

The (mainstream but not universal?) reaction in la belle province — already hinted at by “La femme de Justin Trudeau vole le show à Tout le monde en parle” —  is also suggested by a posting today on the Quebec website, “Voila mon opinion.”  It goes: “Ce qui aurait pu être une partie de bras de fer idéologique fut plutôt une entrevue décontractée, joviale et sommes toutes agréable à regarder. Qu’on soit en accord ou non avec les idéologies politiques de Trudeau, force est d’admettre que le personnage nous ayant été présenté hier attirait la sympathie.”

If you don’t quite read French (like many of us), and are too lazy to have all this translated by Google into the robotically fractured English it specializes in, the MÉTRO headline means (more or less) “Justin Trudeau’s wife steals the show on All the world is talking.”

In English the reaction from the Here’s my opinion site in Quebec more or less gives you: “What might have been an ideological showdown was actually a  relaxed and jovial interview that was fun to watch. Whatever you feel about Trudeau’s political ideology, you have to admit that he presented a sympathetic persona last night.”

All this may be some kind of answer as well to a question subtly implied by Lysiane Gagnon, in her Globe and Mail report from the high society of francophone Montreal last week. According to her often but not always shrewd assessment: “the infatuation of so many anglophone Liberals with Justin Trudeau has always been incomprehensible on this side of the Ottawa River … as if, in a weird nostalgia for monarchy, the Liberals longed for a Trudeau dynasty.”

From left, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, Justin Trudeau, Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, and Whistler Sport Legacies' Keith Bennett.

Who knows? The appearance of Justin and Sophie on “Tout le monde en parle” last night may have finally begun to change all this?

Maybe even (at least part of?) Quebec at large is starting to grasp the message urged in an early autumn 2005 Globe and Mail article by journalist Sarah Hampson, quoted from so generously in our own ancient “quiet evolution of Sophie Gregoire” reflections: “Drink this young woman up, Canada. Poised, self-possessed, funny and spirited, she has a lot in front of her.”

(And one way or another, maybe her husband still has too — perhaps even because he is, as Ms. Gagnon urges, his BC mother’s and not his Quebec father’s son, who nonetheless loves French — and French Canada in Quebec — as much as his father! And maybe you don’t have to become a hereditary leader to help lead your party out of the vast northern wilderness it occupies now.)

* * * *

Here are just a few further resources, for those who want to delve into the potential (non-leadership?) political future of Justin Trudeau and his poised, self-possessed, funny and spirited wife — inside and outside Quebec:

(1) The “Émission du dimanche 4 mars 2012” is on the site for Tout le monde en parle as we write. But who knows how long it will stay there?

Happily it has also been posted on You Tube as “Tout le monde en parle-Justin Trudeau et Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau Partie 1” and “Tout le monde en parle-Justin Trudeau et Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau Partie 2.”

For a written record, see also “Tout le monde en parle: notre résumé de l’émission du 4 mars.”

All this is in French, of course, and there is no simultaneous translation as in the federal Parliament at Ottawa. But for those of us whose French is weak at best, watching French language television from Radio-Canada is one way of trying to improve things, a little.

(2) Lysianne Gagnon’s “Justin Trudeau’s silly but telling tirade” of last Monday, February 27, 2012, urged that “after the recent outburst of Trudeau fils — who essentially told the CBC that he’d rather embrace Quebec separatism than live in a Canada dominated by the ‘Harperites’ — the Liberals have probably come down to Earth and realize that this young man is more of a liability than a future leader.”

For a parallel rant from Ezra Levant from a few weeks before, when the “Trudeau separatist” story first hit the news, see “Trudeau says he’ll help Quebec separate if Harper gets his way.”

There is a somewhat more sophisticated but still, we would argue ourselves, rather blinkered reaction in “Andrew Coyne: In Justin’s world, separation is just another option.”

It seems to us that Chantal Hebert catches the underlyingl motivation of “Trudeau fils” — and the regional/national strategy that saw another element moving into place on Radio-Canada TV last night — in “Hebert: Harper’s alienation of Quebec just what the Liberals need … In Quebec federalist quarters, including the provincial government, the Conservative monarchist rebranding of the country is seen as an ill-advised return to Canada’s colonial past …  Liberal MP Justin Trudeau’s statement that he would support an independent Quebec rather than live in a Canada where equality rights no longer had their place was only the latest manifestation of that malaise … (As an aside: Those who presume that his father Pierre Trudeau would have disagreed have forgotten that he devoted his career to turning Canada into a Charter society.) … In a subsequent interview, an unrepentant Trudeau went a step further. ‘The separatist option is not the bogeyman it used to be. You ask me what the bogeyman is? It’s the one sitting in our prime minister’s chair right now,’ Trudeau told the CBC.”

Photo : Lois Siegel. Many thanks.

(3) For some further intriguing relevant background see “Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser: French and English still matter in Canada” in the National Post on February 15. Eg: “There are remarkable signs of the vitality of the French language and culture in Canada today. Philippe Falardeau’s extraordinary film Monsieur Lazhar has been nominated for a foreign-language Academy Award, just as Denis Villeneuve’s film Incendies was a year ago. One of the most-watched Canadian television programs, in either language, is Tout le monde en parle, but you need to tune in to Radio-Canada on Sunday night to know it exists.”

(4) As a kind of follow-up on Lysiane Gagnon’s “Those who are remotely familiar with the Trudeau family have always known that Justin Trudeau takes more after his mother than his father,” see our May 2007 post “Margaret and Sophie in Ethiopia.” For a more recent report on the oldest Trudeau fils see Susan Delacourt’s December 2011 piece in the Toronto Star, “Trudeau fighting fit as he hits his 40s.”

UPDATE MARCH 31: Congrats to Justin for his surprise win in tonight’s charity boxing match with Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau.

See …  Photos: MP Justin Trudeau pummels Senator Patrick Brazeau … literally … In a stunning upset, Liberal MP Justin Trudeau brawled his way to a …  TKO victory over Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau. The referee stopped the fight in the third and final round ; Combat caritatif: Justin Trudeau bat Patrick Brazeau par arrêt de l’arbitre ; Just watch him: Trudeau victorious in charity boxing bout with Tory senator ; Underdog Justin Trudeau beats Patrick Brazeau in Thrilla on the Hilla ; Trudeau beats Brazeau in charity boxing match ; and Trudeau pulls off stunning upset victory. (And note this last link includes some video footage of the fight!)

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 28 : It now seems likely that Justin Trudeau will be announcing his intention to enter the race for Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada next week. See our  “The unbearable lightness of being Justin Trudeau .. just what Canada after Stephen Harper wants?

UPDATE APRIL 15/16, 2013: Justin Trudeau is now the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada (surprise, surprise). See Randall White on “Is Jean Chretien right — ‘today marks the beginning of the end of this Conservative government’?.”

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  1. Thanks for lifting the level of debate.

  2. You have used my photo of Margaret Trudeau and Sophie above. Please include a credit under the photo or remove the photo.

    Thank you.

    Lois Siegel
    (613) 830-2509

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