Justin Trudeau has found himself in the thick of a full-blown nanny scandal (no, not of the Ben Affleck sort). News broke this week that the Canadian Prime Minister’s cabinet had put two nannies— Marian Puego and Marilou Trayvilla—on the public payroll. They were employed to look after Trudeau’s three young children, and will be paid between $15 and $20 hourly for day shifts.
Trudeau was swiftly denounced as a hypocrite on social media and in the press because, during the campaign leading up to his election, he attacked the opposition’s universal childcare benefit policies, claiming that wealthy families like his own don’t need taxpayer support. “In these times, [then Prime Minister] Mr. Harper’s top priority is to give wealthy families like his and mine $2,000,” Trudeau said of his opponent’s childcare plan. “We don’t need it. And Canada can’t afford it.” To bring home the point, he also promised to donate his $3,400 check from Canada’s Universal Child Care Benefit to charity.
The incident has sparked discussions on the nature of childcare in Canada, and wrought divisive opinions. “There are many burdens of office that the taxpayers should compensate you for,” one critic wrote in the National Post. “Being a parent is not a burden of office.” Others have been quick to rush to defend the Prime Minister—and his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau. “Only someone unaware of the effort and work involved in raising kids would consider the care of the prime minister’s children an “unessential” household expense,” Rachel Giese wrote in Chatelaine, and then continued:
“What’s been unsaid in the criticism (but is nonetheless understood by many women) is that this is in part a judgment on Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau — a mother who, like most mothers, gets criticized when she is seen as not taking care of her kids properly, especially since being the prime minister’s spouse isn’t considered a real job. While she wasn’t elected to office, however, she does have an official role with expectations and demands.”
Read more at the Toronto Star.