With questions swirling about his future, Trudeau largely stays on message in speech to donors

28 June 2024
With questions swirling about his future, Trudeau largely stays on message in speech to donors


In his first address to party faithful since Monday’s byelection loss, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged the defeat but didn’t seem to waver from his usual message.

“We have a time where people are facing huge challenges and huge uncertainty around the world. We saw that on Monday night in Toronto-St. Paul’s,” Trudeau told Liberal supporters at a fundraiser with Liberal donors in Brampton, Ont., on Thursday evening.

It’s the first time he has been in the vote-rich Greater Toronto Area since his party lost Monday’s byelection in what was previously considered a safe Liberal riding.

Liberal candidate Leslie Church lost in Toronto-St. Paul’s to the Conservative’s Don Stewart after the Liberals held the riding for more than three decades.

Liberal MPs say Trudeau needs to meet with caucus after surprise byelection loss

Trudeau says he isn’t quitting — do the Liberals have any good options to turn things around?

Still, on Thursday, the prime minister repeated a similar refrain from the past months: that the Liberals are focused on finding solutions while accusing the Conservatives of stirring up anger. But he also appeared to rally the spirits of those gathered following the beyelection loss.

“When that next election rolls around, everyone starts … with zero MPs. Everyone starts that election with zero votes,” he said.

Trudeau received a standing ovation from the roughly 100 Liberal supporters in attendance, but otherwise the mood in the room appeared subdued.

David Herle, chief campaign strategist for the Liberals under former prime minister Paul Martin, told Power & Politics Thursday that Justin Trudeau should be asking himself, ‘What’s the risk of me leaving, what’s the risk of me staying?’ as some Liberal MPs are questioning Trudeau’s leadership following the party’s shocking byelection loss in Toronto-St. Paul’s.

The loss in Toronto-St. Paul’s has fuelled conversations inside the Liberal caucus about the future prospects of the party, the tenability of Trudeau’s leadership and the effectiveness of the political team that surrounds the prime minister, sources have told CBC News.

On Thursday, Liberal MP Sophie Chatel dodged a question about whether she thinks Trudeau should stay on as leader.

“It’s not something that I feel comfortable to share. I think it’s discussions that are being done internally. I think ultimately it’s his decision, and I respect that,” she told CBC News during a media availability.

Sophie Chatel, Liberal MP for the Quebec riding of Pontiac, would not say whether she thinks Justin Trudeau should stay on as the leader of the Liberal Party when asked by CBC News on Wednesday.

Avtar Minhas, a Liberal supporter who attended Thursday’s fundraiser, said Trudeau still has his support and said it would be a “very big setback” if the prime minister were to step down.

“He’s very capable of winning still, I believe,” Minhas told CBC News.

Bill Adair, another supporter who attended the fundraiser, shrugged off the Toronto-St.Paul’s loss.

“It’s one byelection, it’s one riding,” he said. But he seemed unsure about whether Trudeau should stay or go..

“I have no idea,” Adair said when asked if Trudeau should remain leader.

Liberals need to give their ‘heads a shake,’ minister says after byelection loss

Former MP considering bid to replace Trudeau as Liberal leader after party’s byelection defeat

Trudeau gave no indication that he’d be stepping down, mentioning that he was looking forward to “the fight” in the next election.

A number of Liberal MPs have told CBC News that the national caucus needs to meet as soon as possible to discuss the fallout from Monday’s byelection loss in Toronto and that the gathering can’t wait until the retreat scheduled for the end of the summer. Those MPs spoke to CBC on the condition they not be named.

At least one MP has spoken publicly about a desire to hold a caucus meeting before the end of the summer.

“It’s almost a shame that we’re not gathering as a caucus until after the summer, but I think the focus right now is on our community members,” Liberal MP Jenica Atwin told CBC News during a media availability Wednesday.

But Government House Leader Steve MacKinnon said Thursday that he didn’t think there was a need for an early caucus meeting.

“I know the prime minister is listening very closely to all of my colleagues,” he told reporters during a news conference Thursday.

“There are a great number of feedback mechanisms available to us and I think we’ll be availing ourselves of all of them.”

Sources told Radio-Canada Tuesday that officials from Trudeau’s team called caucus members Tuesday to get feedback on the party’s direction.

Source: cbc

Breaking News
Cookies allow us to personalize content and ads, provide social media features, and analyze our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners.
I accept!