One leads the federal New Democrats. The other appears to have a lock on the leadership of the Liberals. But, as they square off in the House of Commons over the next two years, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau will be staring down a cousin.
The genealogy website Ancestry.ca says it has discovered that Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair share French-Canadian ancestors
Mr. Trudeau, the front-runner in the Liberal party leadership contest which will be decided this weekend, and Mr. Mulcair, who became Leader of the NDP a year ago, are connected through their eighth great-grandparents Mathieu Amiot and Marie Miville which makes the politicians ninth cousins, Ancestry.ca says in a news release issued Thursday.
Mr. Amiot and Ms. Milville were married in 1650 and were members of Quebec's earliest settler families. Ancestry.ca says Mr. Amiot was born in the late 1620s and worked as an interpreter for the Jesuits. When he married Marie, who was born in 1632, her dowry brought him property in the town of Qué bec, making him a very successful landowner, the genealogy site says.
When Mr. Mulcair was informed Thursday about the familial ties with Mr. Trudeau, he laughed out loud.
"I am sure Mr. Trudeau is proud to be related to me," he said during a telephone interview from Europe where he is meeting with other social-democratic politicians and attending a conference on progressive governance. "There is an expression in Quebec, 'tous les Québécois sont cousins,' and guess that's the ultimate proof of it."
It's not the first time someone has tried to research the ancestral roots of a political party leader.
In 2006, part-time genealogist Carol Dobson, a Halifax communications consultant, discovered that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is distantly related to Robb Wells, the actor who is better known to Canadians as Ricky on Trailer Park Boys. Ms. Dobson found that the two men are descendents of the same great-great-great-great-great grandfather, George Dobson which means they are cousins – about four or five generations removed.
And Ancestry.ca has found that former Ontario Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty and Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak are tenth cousins, also through french Canadian roots.
It seems Canadian politics, at times, really is a family affair.