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Margaret TrudeauPhoto: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Suddenly on Facebook there are online articles and posts with links to print articles about Margaret Trudeau. This spate of stories certainly has to do with her son Justin’s election to the position of Prime Minister of our nation and was spurred by a charming closeup photo of her and Justin on election night.

Each of these articles I’ve seen so far does this woman a disservice. Either directly or by inference (the words and phrases used to describe her or the information left out), they leave the sense that the young Margaret Trudeau was some sort of ingenue, unfamiliar with the world of politics. In some articles, there’s also a sense that she was flighty and unreliable. Perhaps she was at times, but aren’t we all some of the time.

I never see mentioned anywhere that she is the daughter of a Canadian elder statesman – James Sinclair, a former Liberal member of the Parliament of Canada and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans – who had grown up in this world, or that she was very young when she married Pierre Trudeau. A year younger than me, she was just 22 in 1971 when she was thrown into the limelight, married to a very important man.

During those long ago days, I and anyone I knew of my generation had the greatest respect for both this woman and her husband. I still do. While I don’t read any purposeful disrespect for Margaret Trudeau in these new articles, I do feel some choices of what to include and omit do diminish her image.

In an article I’ve just read, the author said more than once that the media called her Maggie to be dismissive and show her less than the highest respect. For the youth of Canada, there was no such disrespect intended. She was one of us and we loved her for it. Yes, she was the Prime Minister’s wife, but she also embodied the free spirit of the times. She was our Maggie, and we loved her as one of our own.

I believe that Margaret Trudeau deserves the greatest respect, not so much for her association with two Canadian Prime Ministers, but because of who she is and of what she has accomplished in and done with her life.

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