Sophie Grégoire Trudeau has been removed from her prominent place on the Liberal Party of Canada website, which previously included her own section.
The online material has been taken down after the public announcement this week that Ms. Grégoire Trudeau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have legally separated after an 18-year marriage. As of Friday, there was no mention of Ms. Grégoire Trudeau on the website. The Liberal Party has not yet provided comment on the decision to take it down.
Earlier this week, Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Grégoire Trudeau released separate but simultaneously timed statements to indicate their decision to part ways, adding that they remain a close family. They also asked for privacy for the well-being of their three children.
On Friday, Mr. Trudeau held private meetings but did not conduct any public events. His itinerary said he had a call with the President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, who was recently deposed in a military coup. The Prime Minister is set to vacation next week with Ms. Grégoire Trudeau and their children.
At present, Mr. Trudeau’s online biography on the Liberal site makes no reference to his former spouse. The Prime Minister is described as “the proud dad of Xavier, Ella-Grace and Hadrien.”
The changes to the Liberal Party communications represent a sharp contrast with 2015 when Mr. Trudeau came to power – Ms. Grégoire Trudeau was much more visible in political efforts. For example, she was front and centre when Mr. Trudeau swore in his new cabinet after the Liberals achieved a sweeping majority government.
Duane Bratt, a political science professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, said Friday that the image of a “young glamorous couple” has been part of the Prime Minister’s image.
It is not unusual that spouses appear on the campaign trail, such as Ms. Grégoire Trudeau did, Prof. Bratt said. But what has been different for the Trudeaus, he said, is the way it has been connected to the political brand.
“No one thought that the Harpers were glamorous,” he said. “No one thought that the Chrétiens were glamorous. But they did with the Trudeaus and that’s why this is a global story. So his brand, his political brand has taken a hit.”
Prof. Bratt also noted that there have been political challenges this year for Mr. Trudeau, including the high cost of living, such as grocery prices, and the issue of Chinese interference in Canadian democracy.
Pollster Shachi Kurl says the Liberal Party may try to rebrand the Prime Minister as being “more focused on the business of the day.”
“Given the divorce rate in Canada today, millions of adults have some lived experience of what the Trudeaus are going through,” the president of the Angus Reid Institute said Friday. “Thus, the transition is not beyond the realm of what the public can imagine or empathize with.”
Nelson Wiseman, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Toronto, said Ms. Grégoire Trudeau was a political asset but he added that in the past few years she has not been as visible.
“It has been very obvious to me that I just see Trudeau on his own,” Prof. Wiseman said. “It was just such a contrast to 2015.”
In his 2014 memoir, Common Ground, Mr. Trudeau wrote of a dialogue with his spouse about the political path ahead after he was elected party leader in 2013.
“The next few weeks, I spent in deep discussion with Sophie about the challenges, sacrifices and opportunities that were part of political life,” he said.
Mr. Trudeau also wrote that ”Sophie weighs in very strongly on many of my speeches. From the tone to the approach to the ideas, she is a vital partner for me, ensuring I hit the right notes in both substance and language.
“She is a brilliant and invaluable sounding board for me in all that I do.”