Politics

Margaret Trudeau on Justin, Pierre - and that hair

Margaret Trudeau made headlines after revealing her son, prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau, would not be living at the official residence with his family. Now, she opens up about the election and how Justin's life in the political spotlight will differ from what she experienced with Pierre.

Ex-wife of former prime minister talks to CBC's Wendy Mesley about life in the political spotlight

Ex-wife of former prime minister talks to CBC's Wendy Mesley about life in the political spotlight 11:01

Margaret Trudeau hasn't lost her touch for making headlines.

Last week Trudeau — mother of Justin, ex-wife of Pierre — surprised everyone by announcing that her son, the prime minister-designate, would not be moving into the official residence with his family.

Her remarks sparked a national discussion over the miserable state of 24 Sussex Drive, which needs an estimated $10 million in structural repairs. In the meantime, Maureen McTeer, the wife of another former prime minister, Joe Clark, has weighed in, saying the building should be torn down all together.

In an interview with The National's Wendy Mesley, Trudeau speaks out about about a wide variety of topics, from worrying about her son's new job ("He's my boy and he's taking on the biggest, biggest job") to the negative ads that permeated the campaign ("Slick, cheesy politics") to her own difficulties living at 24 Sussex as the wife of a prime minister back in 1971 ("For me, it became something to escape").

Margaret and Justin Trudeau get ready to leave on a train for their holiday, July 19, 1972. (Peter Bregg/Canadian Press)

For her daughter-in-law Sophie Gregoire, Trudeau says it will be important to stay active and involved.

"Don't be a little Downton Abbey lady caught in the drawing room," Trudeau said. "Be part of your life. Every day."

Trudeau said it "obviously" hurt to read critiques of her son during the campaign, in which journalists said he was more of his mother's son than his father's, a dig that suggested Justin Trudeau was all Margaret's flash without Pierre's intellect. 

Margaret Trudeau disagrees with that assessment. "Justin is a mixture of us both," she said. "I think he's a very complete person all on his own."

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      But the irrepressible Margaret Trudeau can't resist adding one more thought — a bit of credence, perhaps, to those theories about her son.

      "He may have my hair," she laughs, giving her mane a pat. "He certainly doesn't have his dad's."


      You can watch Margaret Trudeau talk about her son's personality (and hair) in the video player above. The full interview can be seen on Friday night's The National.

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