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Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and children Hadrien, Ella-Grace and Xavier pose for photographers before boading the campaign bus after voting in Montreal, on October 19, 2015.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

The response to Sophie Grégoire Trudeau's complaint that she needs more help to manage her busy life has veered from the sarcastic to the malicious. Let's consider the merits of the case.

The spouses of most Canadian politicians and elected officials, even those who are senior and well known, have their own independent careers and largely private lives. Their contact with their partner's public duties is often minimal; their public profile is usually low to non-existent. Most don't have taxpayer-supported staff; most don't need them. Ms. Grégoire Trudeau, however, is not in exactly the same boat. She's married to the Prime Minister, and there are duties and opportunities tied to that fact. Some come with the territory; some she has chosen. Since her husband became PM, the requests for her to make appearances have exploded, to the point that she told a French-language newspaper, "I need help. I need a team to help me serve people."

Yes, those words deserved to be met with a certain amount of cynicism. Ms. Grégoire Trudeau was not elected to "serve people." She was not elected to anything. Officially, she has no government job, because unlike the United States, Canada doesn't have a First Lady. We don't have a presidential system, and Mr. Trudeau is head of government, not head of state. Canada already has two taxpayer-supported, head-of-state families: The Queen and her consort, and the Governor General and his.

That said, though "Spouse Of The PM" is not an official job, the informal role has usually come with both obligations and opportunities – from the obligation to appear at some public functions with the PM, to the opportunity to independently give speeches or become a spokesperson for charitable causes. Ms. Grégoire Trudeau has a taxpayer-provided assistant, in recognition of the obligations of the unofficial job. The question is to what extent the taxpayer should provide a PM's spouse with even more staff, to manage all of those offers and opportunities. They may be rolling in because of the elected spouse's position, but they aren't demanded by it. We'd suggest that's where taxpayers draw the line.