(London) Justin Trudeau’s Quebec MPs displayed a united front behind their leader on Wednesday, pleading sometimes that we should “not give in to panic”, sometimes that the Prime Minister remained the man for the job, and often by downplaying the importance of polls. As for the main person concerned, he stubbornly refused to discuss the state of his leadership.
The Quebec elected officials who paraded in front of the cameras at the convention center in London, Ontario, all gave a vote of confidence to their leader, whose popularity plummeted over the summer, in favor of that of the leader curator Pierre Poilievre.
Minister Diane Lebouthillier used this analogy to explain the phenomenon: “When we were teenagers, we would probably have, at some point, all gotten rid of our parents to change them.”
“The Quebec caucus is united behind the leader, and I am certain that with the discussions, at the end of the national caucus, it will be the same thing”, for her part argued Minister Pascale St-Onge upon her arrival in the meeting of the Quebec deputation.
Despite the insistence of journalists, the Prime Minister flatly refused to comment on the discontent that MPs have expressed behind the scenes, under cover of anonymity, in several media outlets in recent weeks.
“We are going to have frank conversations, but we are going to (dedicate) most of our energy to knowing how to meet the needs of Canadians,” he said in particular on the sidelines of an announcement on housing in London.
“People don’t want politicians to talk about themselves. People want politicians to focus on their challenges,” he continued.
According to a survey carried out by the firm Abacus, the results of which were published a little less than a week ago, Pierre Poilievre (36%) was ahead of Justin Trudeau (34%) for the first time in terms of favorable impressions. , and his Conservatives held a 14% lead.
THE ” Nervous Nellies »
In the corridors of London, several MPs insisted on the fact that Justin Trudeau had led his troops to victory in 2015, in 2019, then in 2021. And the Liberals, declared Minister Pablo Rodriguez, “are capable of renewing themselves “.
“Mr. (Jean) Chrétien had a term in English for MPs who are perhaps a little too concerned when we hit a bump: the Nervous Nellies. I have been in politics for a long time, and I think we have to stay the course and keep calm,” argued veteran Francis Scarpaleggia.
Same story coming from Minister Steven Guilbeault. “There is indeed concern, but the best thing to do (…) is not to panic. You have to take a deep breath,” he said.
“I think there are people who feel nervous,” added Minister St-Onge, who won by a slim margin in 2021, arguing “the only poll that will count is the one elections, and it’s not now.”
Until the next election, no matter when it is held, the government is aware that Canadians are suffering due to the cost of living, indicated Minister Mélanie Joly: “We know that people are frustrated with inflation . (…) We feel that the rise in interest rates worries them, and that is normal.”
A small, but noisy, welcoming committee awaited the Liberals in the southwestern Ontario city. They circulated around the convention center where the meeting was being held, honking horns and waving flags reading, among other things, “Chrystia Freeland is the devil” and the widespread “Fuck Trudeau.”
The caucus meeting will end on Thursday, a few days before the start of Parliament next Monday.