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EDITORIAL: Prime minister’s marital status should not matter

Elected leaders should be judged based on their accomplishments as leaders
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau are separating after 18 years of marriage. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire make their way to a government plane as they depart the airport, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau announced their separation on Aug. 2, the announcement attracted instant attention. The two had been married for 18 years and have three children.

The announcement left many people stunned, in Canada and beyond.

While people have plenty of opinions about the Trudeau separation announcement, the question to ask is whether this news should matter.

READ ALSO: Trudeaus announce separation after 18 years of marriage

According to 2020 information from Statistics Canada, 256.3 out of 1,000 marriages will end in divorce within 30 years, and 279.7 out of 1,000 marriages will end in divorce within 50 years. These figures are lower than in previous years, when the 50-year total divorce rate was closer to four out of every 10 marriages.

The median duration of marriages in Canada was 12.8 years in 2020. Half of marriages in Canada lasted longer, while half did not last as long.

Trudeau’s role is that of Canada’s prime minister. This job does not require a specific marital status. Instead, it involves governing and representing Canada.

William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s longest-serving prime minister, was never married. Neither was R.B. Bennett, the prime minister from 1930 to 1935. Mackenzie Bowell, Canada’s fifth prime minister, was a widower who was unmarried during his time in office.

Pierre Trudeau, the father of Justin Trudeau, was a bachelor when he took office in 1968. He was the first prime minister to marry while in office, and also the first to divorce while in office.

Kim Campbell, who served as prime minister in 1993, was divorced when she took office.

These people, and any of the others who have served in Canada’s House of Commons, should be remembered for their accomplishments while in office, whether good or bad.

It would be wise to consider the words of Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau, from 1967. “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”

The ability of elected officials to govern wisely and fairly should be the standard by which they are judged.

— Black Press

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