Girl, 2, memorizes names of Justin Trudeau's cabinet ministers
Michael Shulman, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, November 30, 2015 5:56PM EST
If pressed, how many ministers from Justin Trudeau's recently formed cabinet could you name?
One? Two? More than five?
Well, in a YouTube video released last week, two-year-old Sophia Popalyar shows she is up to the task, rattling off 10 ministers in less than two minutes.
In the clip, the toddler with a full head of dark curly hair, is asked by her father, Fawad,"Who is the prime minister?"
"Justin Trudeau," replies Sophia, without hesitation.
"The honourable?" her father prods.
"The right honourable Justin Trudeau," she responds, immediately returning her attention to the "Frozen" blanket that she is sitting on.
But Sophia doesn't stop there.
She proceeds to name Immigration and Refugees Minister John McCallum, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion and eight others -- exactly a third of Trudeau's cabinet.
In a phone interview, Sophia's mother, Adina, told CTV News that her daughter can now recite 15 to 20 ministers off the top of her head.
"It is just hard to get her to sit still to say all the ones that she knows," she said.
Sophia's parents are both civil servants: Fawad works for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Adina is employed at Health Canada. Adina said the family was watching coverage of the country's October election "closely."
And it was during this time that her daughter started showing glimpses of her remarkable grasp of Canadian politics.
"After the results during the ceremonies, we were watching it and talking about it at home, so she basically picked up a lot of it from that," said Popalyar.
"And we realized she could remember the names of people, and she would recognize Prime Minister Trudeau on TV (and) when we were talking about him."
Popalyar said her husband then started randomly quizzing Sophia on the names of cabinet ministers, and in about a week she had memorized about 10.
What's even more impressive, said Popalyar, is that her daughter's first language isn't even English -- it is Dari, the language of her parents.
"I'm very surprised she's good with her pronunciation because some of the names are very difficult to pronounce, and even I can't remember all those she has learned," she said.
Out of all the cabinet ministers, Sophia's favourite is Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef.
Popalyar said this because Monsef, who immigrated from Afghanistan, shares a similar background.
Popalyar came to Canada from Afghanistan when she was four and grew up in Toronto, and her husband moved to the country in 2001.
"That’s a huge inspiration for us … and we've talked a lot about her," she said.
Monsef, as well as Trudeau's chief of staff Katie Telford, have acknowledged Sophia's talents on Twitter.
And when learning that her favourite minister was a fan, Popalyar said her daughter "gasped and clapped her hands."
But Sophia's skills aren't reserved just for Canadian politics, her mother said her daughter, who turned two in August and started speaking shortly after turning one, has also memorized Katie Perry's "Roar" and Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" in their entirety.
"Sometimes you don't want them to learn that, but she hears things once and it sticks with her," she said with a laugh.
Popalyar said she has been a "little bit overwhelmed" by all the attention sparked by the video, which she initially just shared with family members.
But in light of the negative depictions of refugees in the media, she hopes it can "debunk" some stereotypes about newcomers to the country and "show our contributions in Canada and society as a whole."
And as far as her daughter's political aspirations, Popalyar says there "may be" a prime ministerial bid in the works.
"She can be whatever she likes to be, and as a parent you want them to reach for the stars," she said.