(Ottawa) Many Liberals coalesced around Justin Trudeau on Wednesday amid challenges to his leadership. Although he repeated in every forum before the holidays that he would lead the Liberal Party of Canada in the next election, the gap with Pierre Poilievre seems insurmountable.
Posted at 6:23 p.m.
“We are ready to face the challenges that lie ahead,” Canadian Culture Minister Pascale St-Onge said in a press scrum as the Liberal caucus began the day after the Cabinet meeting. “We know that there is still economic instability, that there is a lot happening in the world, but we stand behind our leader,” she added. I still support it today. »
“I would like to know why people are fed up,” replied Élisabeth Brière, Member for Sherbrooke. We have mastered a crisis almost exceptionally, [on est] one of the countries doing best. We have helped many people out of poverty, we are the ones who do the most for the environment and I think that is thanks to our leader. »
“I have confidence in the prime minister,” said former Treasury president Mona Fortier, MP for Ottawa-Vanier. However, she declined to say whether she wanted him to remain leader until the next election.
PHOTO JUSTIN TANG, CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVE
Mona Fortier, MP for Ottawa-Vanier
They were responding to recent comments from Newfoundland MP Ken McDonald. He said on Radio-Canada that the Liberals had “reached their expiration date,” that he wasn't sure Mr. Trudeau was still the one who could lead the Liberals in the next election and that it was time to give up his leadership to check. Neither he nor his team returned calls to La Presse on Wednesday. The Prime Minister did not comment on his MP's comments.
The latest Abacus poll earlier this year gives Pierre Poilievre's Conservatives a 17-point lead over the Liberals, which would be enough to form a majority government if elections were held today.
“I agree if [M. Trudeau] I want to stay, but I'm also open to the prospect of a review [de son leadership]stated NWT Rep. Michael McLeod. If there are people in our group who think there should be a review, I have no problem with that. »
Such a vote of confidence is only granted if a leader fails to be elected prime minister, according to the Constitution of the Liberal Party of Canada. Therefore, there is currently no mechanism that would allow members to hold one. Internal pressure would have to be strong enough to persuade Mr. Trudeau to resign, which is far from the case.
“Several MPs know him from meetings in pubs attended by ten people and in church basements when the Liberal Party was a distant third,” recalls the political party's former communications director, Braeden Caley.
He argues that the polls were not positive for the Liberals in 2015 and 2019 either and that Mr. Trudeau still managed to form a government.
“The polls are against us,” admitted Northern Ontario MP Marcus Powlowski. Does that mean I would inevitably lose if we had a choice this summer? NO. I still have confidence. »
“The only polls that really count and the opinions that really make a difference are the ones from election day,” summarized his Newfoundland colleague Yvonne Jones.